Liversedge pounces to earn Eagles win

Leighton Buzzard v Bedford Town PNL-141222-095956002
Leighton Buzzard v Bedford Town PNL-141222-095956002

A brace from Tom Liversedge made sure that the Eagles came away from Bedfordshire rivals Leighton Town with a hard fought 2-1 win on Saturday.

It brings his total for the season to 15, including five in the last five days.

Having to show great spirit coming back from three goals down against Godalming in midweek, after a poor start to the game, Craig Adams must have been pleased his side took the initiative in this match from the start.

Early on, Jeff Woodward, on the right corner of the area, picked out Liversedge, shamelessly unmarked on the other side of the area. The moment was lost, however, as the striker had a little too much time to set up a shot, allowing former Eagle - one of four in the Leighton side - Ashley Farmer to get across and deflect the ball off. From the corner, the Leighton defence flapped about trying to defend the ball and Liversedge’s reply, from ten yards, beat Dan Green but not a defender on the line.

The breakthrough for Bedford came in the 18th minute. Just before the goal, Ross Oulton floated a free kick into the home area, with Liversedge and Russell Bull rising to claim the ball. Whoever’s head got the final touch, the ball looped over Green but rebounded off the bar.

Bedford kept up the pressure, and Bull, who had already been the victim of some industrial tackling, was brought down in the area by Farmer. As the sun was ready to set for the day, Liversedge stepped up to the penalty spot and drove the ball low to the left, sending Green the wrong way.

A couple of minutes later, Garry Malone, having a quiet game so far, spilt a 20-yard free kick from Phil Draycott. As there were many players already in the area, there was a scramble, but the Bedford defence succeeded in shepherding the ball away from danger.

Just after the 30 minute mark, Draycott, from an impossible angle on the right byline, squeezed the ball past Malone, and with another Leighton player racing in, Ollie Wilkinson forced the ball away from the line.

The 1st half came to a close with a point-blank save from Green, denying Liversedge from the edge of the six-yard box, after Bull had headed the ball into his path.

Early in the 2nd half, the same duo started where they left off. This time, Bull crossed in from the left, and Liversedge saw another close-range shot saved by Green.

Just before the hour, Rob Parker had the ball in the Leighton net, but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Just after the hour, in the 61st minute, Leighton equalised. Leon Lobjoit had just scuffed a shot wide, and from the goal kick the home side kept pressing. A diagonal ball was played into the box, and Danny Watson - booked in the 1st half for an unedited diatribe at the referee, who, frankly, must have had hundreds of better games in the middle - got into the mix with Wilkinson, Malone and Stuart Smeathers. The presence of Watson did enough, as the ball came off the head of Smeathers towards goal. Despite the best efforts of Wilkinson to try and clear the ball, the task was too much, and Leighton were back in the game.

Coming straight back and looking to regain the lead, Bull fired over the bar when a cross came in from the left.

At this time though, the hosts looked more likely to get the all important second goal. A long ball into the area from Farmer was too long for any outfield player, but had the right weight to force Malone in tipping it over the bar. A little later, substitute, Claude Seanla went on a powerful run that ended with a swerving strike from the left hand corner of the area that forced Malone to punch away.

Inside the last ten minutes, Oulton’s free kick, floated in from the right corner of the area, giving a glorious chance to Bedford’s substitute, Greg Ling, but the header was too high and cleared the bar.

The eventual winner came on 87 minutes. Parker dispossessed Alvin Rajaram down the right, before playing the ball back to Josh Winters - just two minutes on the pitch. Winters’ run into the area ended with a cross that was taken first time by Liversedge, and the striker saw his shot squirm past the despairing hands of Green, who, managing to get a hand to the ball, only succeeded to push it onto the post before it crossed the line.

Despite a desperate comeback by Leighton in the remaining three minutes, plus the four extra added on, Bedford closed ranks to claim a vital three points.

There was more drama after the final whistle, when Greg Ling and Danny Watson were involved in an altercation. Ling was shown the red card, and Watson in receiving his second yellow, was upgraded to a red.

Bedford stay in 18th position in the league.

The Eagles travel to fifth placed and form side at the moment, Barton Rovers, on Saturday, December 27. 3pm kick off.

Eagles: Garry Malone, Paul Cooper (Josh Winters 85), Joe Hopewell, Stuart Smeathers, Jeff Woodward, Ollie Wilkinson [c], Callum Lewis, Ross Oulton, Tom Liversedge, Russell Bull (Greg Ling 72), Rob Parker.

Subs not used: Josh McGoldrick, Joe Holmes.

Reds: Dan Green, Ashley Farmer, Gary Ridgway, Warren Garcia (Claude Seanla 56), Dave Murphy [c], Alvin Rajaram, Leon Lobjoit, Mark Bunker, Michael Lyons, Danny Watson, Phil Draycott.

Subs not used: Harvey-Bailey Irving, Aaron Halai.

Attendance: 146.