Magpies are downed as Bedford record first win of the season

Goalkeeper Leanne Sargeant was player of the match for Bedford. Picture (c) Neville Moran
Goalkeeper Leanne Sargeant was player of the match for Bedford. Picture (c) Neville Moran

Third placed Harleston Magpies were the visitors at Chester Road on Saturday and a fine battling display ensured Bedford L1 won 1-0 for their first victory of the season.

Bedford welcomed back Clare Beattie from illness and knew that after five straight defeats, keeping their belief was vital and that was reiterated by coach Paul Livesey in the pre-match team talk.

The Maroons started well and took a third minute lead when the ball was transferred from the right by SJ Darrington into Charlotte Holland who fed Kate Costin to strike an early shot past the unsuspecting keeper.

Harleston came back strongly and put the Bedford defence under pressure with Leanne Sargeant making two tremendous saves including one from a penalty corner low down to her right.

Bedford held firm in defence with excellent teamwork in the tackles, always having cover from half backs SJ Darrington and Beth Noble.

Towards half-time the constant pressure started getting to the home side who were indebted to some fine tackles by Emma Pinny and Rachel Jackson to keep the lead intact.

Into the second half and Bedford knew they needed to maintain their concentration.

All the team redoubled their efforts and Katherine Winger in the Bedford midfield controlled the game brilliantly.

Clare Beattie put in a great shift on the right, as did Becky Childs on the left, with Kelly Bingham, Verity Mason- McLeod and Louise Beechener all rotating throughout the midfield.

Bedford’s shape was strong and they restricted Harleston to only a few sights on goal which player of the match Sargeant was equal to.

Goalmouth action for the home side was limited too but Costin did have a great chance to extend the lead after Beattie’s outstanding pass saw her one on one with the keeper, but her weak shot was saved.

Moments later the ball was deflected high into the net from an Pinny crash ball but the only touch in the circle had come from a magpies stick so it was disallowed.

As the second half wore on, captain Sherri Skene made some vital interventions while Sargeant produced another magnificent save from a penalty corner deflection to secure a well-deserved first win back in the National League.