Southern Premier League
Bedford Town 0 Hemel Hempstead 3
A below-par Bedford Town were comprehensively beaten by league leaders Hemel Hempstead Town at the Eyrie on Saturday, ending their unbeaten run of six games: also conceding more than two goals in a match for the first time this season, writes Roger Worsley.
Boss Nick Platnauer made two changes to the side that drew with Chesham the previous Saturday with Paul Cooper replacing the unavailable Ollie Wilkinson and Michael Built coming in for Eugene Libertucci.
Eagles got off to the worst possible start when a long kick from Hemel keeper Mark Osborn was uncharacteristically misjudged by Josh Beech, giving Matt Nolan a clear run at goal and time to pick his spot, with Ian Brown powerless to stop the goal.
Midway through the half, Ashley Fuller volleyed a Mark Bell cross, but the ball was blocked yards from the line by the desperate lunge of Danny May.
Bedford had their best chance on the half hour when Bell’s cross found Jamaine Ivy on the edge of the area. With more time than he thought he had, Ivy controlled the ball before firing over the bar.
Two minutes into the second half, Beech fed Paul Cooper and the young defender managed to put a cross in from the byline that was narrowly headed over the bar by Nat Peacock.
The Eagles were given an uphill task on 54 minutes when the referee spotted a push on Victor Osobu in the penalty area and immediately pointed to the spot.
Ian Brown did his best to save the spot kick from Jordan Parkes and managed to get a hand to the ball, but the shot had enough power to bounce over the line.
A couple of minutes later the lively Osobu got away from the defence but Brown narrowed the angle and the resulting shot was fired across the face of goal.
Ivy made way for new signing Will Green on 64 minutes and the striker was involved in Bedford’s next move, but couldn’t get good purchase on Michael Built’s cross and Osborn collected.
From the moment the Hemel guardian released the ball it was up the other end and Osobu again raced clear of the defence, and was again denied by Brown, who saved his shot.
Brown had kept Bedford in the game with vital interceptions during the second half, but was unable to deny Osobu again, in the 90th minute, when the Hemel substitute, who came on in the seventh minute, raced onto a Matt Judge pass and capped an honest performance with a burly shot into the roof of the net.
Eagles: Ian Brown (C), Paul Cooper (Gareth Price 79), Steve Kinniburgh, Michael Built, Josh Beech, Jamie Grimes, Mark Bell, Callum Lewis, Nat Peacock, Jamaine Ivy (Will Green 64), Ashley Fuller.
Subs not used: Eugene Libertucci, Dan Crowie, Seb Simpson.
Hemel Hempstead: Mark Osborn, Danny May, Ryan Parsons, David King, Kyle Anthony (Jack Nelly 32), Peter Holmes (C), Charlie Mpi, Steve O’Leary (Victor Osobu 7), David Pearce, Matt Nolan (Matt Judge 85), Jordan Parkes.
Subs not used: Jake Gilbert, Sam Beagle.
Referee: Mr M Wilson.
Assistant referees: Mr I Wilson, Mr K Yezek.
Star Man: Ian Brown.