Two goals in each half and a one-man advantage for 50 minutes helped the Eagles to a 4-0 victory in their Southern League Division One Central clash at AFC Hayes on Saturday afternoon.
Manager Craig Adams made a couple of changes to the side, with Josh Winters and Tom Liversedge coming in for Sam Macrae and Tom Rawlings.
Neil King had a header saved early on, and Dan Burke made a timely intervention to deny Tobi Akinjirin at the other end, but from the 15th minute, the game livened up.
Scott Cross bested Tashan Jordan, inside the Hayes area, but found the defence had tightened. Despite moving across the area and getting a shot in, the ball rebounded off a defender.
Cross turned provider a couple of minutes later, sending the ball in from the right byline, and Tom Liversedge used his height to head goalwards, but was just a bit wide.
Jeff Woodward then hit the side netting from Tommy Glasscoe’s corner, before Glasscoe, himself, hit a downward shot that bounced left to right across the Hayes goal.
Bedford took the lead in the 27th minute, when Liversedge collected long pass down the left wing.
The attacker swung in a pinpoint cross, and Josh Winters was on hand to make good use of it with an uncontested header that flew past Damian Lafeville in the Hayes goal.
The 30th minute heralded a second goal, but not before Lee Crockett had to save a tame shot.
Another long ball from the centre did the damage, as Cross beat the defence, and from the left hand corner of the area, chipped the advancing Lafeville to see the ball nestle safely in the back of the net.
With just over five minutes of the half remaining, Cross and Tashan Jordan clashed after the linesman flagged for a foul on the Bedford man. This sparked a melee of players seeking retribution or playing the peace-keeper.
Once order had been just about restored, Mr. Howick, the referee, gave Cross a yellow card, and Jordan his marching orders, much to the disquiet of his team mates.
A one-man advantage can sometimes prove to be more a disadvantage, as concentration heightens in the disadvantaged side, whilst the full team can drop the guard, mentally.
Hayes came out with purpose as having already lost their left back, their right back was replaced with another central defender, giving the side a 3-3-3 formation.
Ricardo Faux-James forced a save off Lee Crockett, but the purple patch for the home side was around the hour mark. In this time, Faux-James and Lee McManus fired just wide of the mark, and Woodward had to deny Faux-James with a last ditch tackle.
From a corner, Crockett had to collect a header from under his bar, all the while keeping his arms outstretched so the ball didn’t cross the line.
Bedford weathered the storm and came back with a 73rd minute strike from Glasscoe that hit the right hand post and showed the ferocity of the shot by the length of the rebound, as it didn’t bounce until the area was cleared.
The third goal came in the 76th minute and finally sucked the soul out of the home side.
The three Tom’s did the damage, as a Glasscoe tackle pushed the ball into the path of Liversedge, who in turn sprayed the ball out to the right wing to substitute, Tom Rawlings.
Rawlings weighed up the situation before sending in a cross deep into the area where Glasscoe had now positioned himself, and got to the ball before the diving form of Lafeville, to direct it into the net.
From now on, Bedford enjoyed good possession. The fourth goal came with seven minutes left when Jordan Jarrold’s diagonal pass from the left was perfectly pitched for Rawlings, who wrong footed Lafeville by slotting the ball into the right hand corner of the net, when the left would have been much easier.
Eagles: Lee Crockett, Paul Cooper, Joe Hopewell, Neil King, Jeff Woodward, Dan Burke [c], Tommy Glasscoe, Josh Winters (Jordan Jarrold 61), Tom Liversedge (Jamie Wright 77), Scott Cross (Tom Rawlings 63), Rob Parker.
Subs not used: Josh McGoldrick, Ben Grant.
The Brook: Damian Lafeville, Dan Bourne (Emmanuel Williams ht), Tashan Jordan, Paul Underwood (Romayne Thomas 58), Charlie Goode, James Walters [c], Lee Clark (Max Walcott 72), Geoges Ehul, Tobi Akinjirin, Ricardo Faux-James, Lee McManus.
Subs not used: Chevy Hart, Dan Tomlin.
Referee: Kevin Howick.
Assistants: Joel Mannix, Neil Fyfield.