Bedford Town pay the penalty as Red Insure Cup hopes come to an end

Action from Bedford Town's clash with Leighton earlier this season
Action from Bedford Town's clash with Leighton earlier this season

The Eagles were beaten on penalties in the Red Insure Cup at home to Leighton Town on Saturday afternoon, after the 135 crowd witnessed a compelling 2-2 draw in the regulation 90 minutes.

An early chance fell for Leighton as a corner came floating in. Tyrone Taylor rose to meet the ball and saw his header bounce past the left hand post, with Paul Cooper policing it off.

Taylor also a threat with a long throw.

A third of the way through the half, a free-kick was awarded to Bedford, 20 yards out, after Dan Burke was upended. Neil King placed the kick a little too high, hitting the advertising hoardings on the terrace behind.

The opening goal came in the 21st minute. Rob Parker - who a little earlier had demonstrated his ability to run at the defence - took the ball from midfield, evading a hefty challenge at the same time.

His through-ball found Tom Rawlings running clear of the defence with no-one but ex-Eagle Dan Green to beat, and Rawlings rounded the Leighton keeper and calmly slotted the ball home.

Two minutes later, Parker, from the edge of the centre circle, saw Green off his line and fired forward, with the ball flying just over the bar.

Leighton came back, however, as Phil Draycott’s free-kick from the right wing found Dave Murphy at the far post. At his right hand post, Shaun Markie saved, and held onto the ball.

Markie was beaten in the 27th minute, though. Another free-kick from Draycott - this time from the left - was headed goal-wards by Robbie Goodman, beating Markie in the process.

The ball bounced off the bottom of the right hand post and across the goalline before Jamie Nicholls raced in to blast the ball home.

Parker then found a gap past Michael Lyon, from a Joe Hopewell throw, but the ball lacked pace and Green picked up easily.

With five minutes of the half to go, Rawlings was released again, this time from an Aaron King flick.

The defence was beaten and Rawlings, yet again, rounded Green but took the ball too far and when the shot came, it was at too tight an angle and hit the side netting.

As the game entered the 45th minute, Josh McGoldrick blocked the ball on the line, then a run from Paul Cooper out of defence caused problems in the Leighton half as he kept running and running with the ball with no one in sight to pass to.

Cooper entered the area from the right hand corner and, with Green racing out to narrow the gap and Murphy keeping him company, the Bedford defender toe poked the ball forward. Green got enough of a touch to deflect the ball beyond the danger area and Leighton were reprieved.

Bedford had the best possible start to the second half as, just six minutes in, McGoldrick fed King, whose pass to Burke was returned with interest.

The ball dropped invitingly in front of the Bedford striker and behind the defence, allowing King to round Green and slot home for his first goal since pre-season.

Minutes later, from a Markie interception - denying Claude Seanla - the ball was directed upfield for Parker, on the left wing.

Parker evaded a couple of tackles to get to the byline and fire a cross in. Green missed the cross and Murphy was forced to put the ball off for a corner before Rawlings could get a foot to it.

Just before the hour mark, an innocuous shot from Danny Watson was saved by Markie, but the bounce of the ball added to the difficulty of the shot.

Three minutes past the hour and parity was restored. A cross into the area was headed manfully by Seanla, prompting Markie to palm the ball away at full stretch.

That allowed Watson, tight on the right hand post, to chest the ball down and fired home despite the best efforts of the defence.

The action continued and a great run down the left by King on 72 minutes allowed him to feed Rawlings, whose final ball was blocked by the leg of a Leighton defender.

King was immediately given a talking to by the referee, Mr. Holmes, after speaking out about his treatment from a couple of forceful tackles during the run.

At the other end five minutes later, Seanla and Draycott combined to set up Watson from distance, but the shot went over the bar.

As the game came into the last 10 minutes, a mis-kicked pass from Aaron King found Cooper, just inside the area.

Cooper pushed to the right byline and sent in a low cross that Green deflected just past Neil King, who would have surely scored otherwise.

Six minutes of stoppage time was played, but nobody could provide the winner, so the tie would be decided by penalty kicks.

Draycott and King got their respective team off to a good start, with both penalties struck into the bottom right hand corner.

Aaron Morgan dispatched his spot kick before Neil King hit the base of the left hand post to give the visitors a clear lead.

Kyle Durcan (Leighton) and Rob Parker (Bedford) were both successful, then Danny Watson made it 4-2 to Leighton.

Tom Liversedge stepped up and saw his kick saved by Green, and Bedford were out of the league cup.