Championship showcase weekend for Bedford Town and Plymouth Parkway

After celebrating their league title last weekend, champions Bedford Town have one more special game to relish.

By Zoe Ashton
Friday, 29th April 2022, 8:16 am
Manager Gary Setchell and the Bedford Town team celebrate with the Southern League Division One Central shield  Picture courtesy www.bedfordeagles.net
Manager Gary Setchell and the Bedford Town team celebrate with the Southern League Division One Central shield Picture courtesy www.bedfordeagles.net

On Saturday they host Plymouth Parkway in the Southern League Division One championship showcase at the Eyrie, with Gary Setchell’s Central division champions entertaining the South division campaign winners.

It comes after the disappointment of Eagles missing out on more silverware on Tuesday evening in the final of the Bedfordshire Senior Cup, when underdogs Leighton Town won on penalties at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road ground, watched by a crowd of 1,080.

Eagles were 2-1 down and seemingly out after 90 minutes of play, but a last-minute equaliser took the game to a shoot-out.

Lewis Miccio had given Bedford the lead within five minutes against the fourth-place Spartan South Midlands Premier Division side. But in a thrilling start to the game for both sets of supporters, Luke Pyman levelled with less than ten minutes on the clock.

The Bell Close side then went ahead, 2-1, thanks to Duncan Culley’s strike 20 minutes into the action-packed final.

Just before half time, the game changed with a controversial red card for Bedford’s Charley Sanders for a tackle on Culley.

In the second-half, with chances for both sides, ten-man Bedford kept the score at 2-1 until stoppage time. When it looked all over, Rory McAuley earned Eagles the latest of lifelines with his 97th-minute equaliser.

Despite the heartache of conceding the late goal, the Leighton players kept their heads to win 5-3 on spot kicks.

It was their second shoot-out win in the competition for Lee Bircham’s side, having beaten a young Luton Town side in the quarter-finals.

Bedford, having secured promotion to Step 3 after a truly outstanding season, beat Aylesbury United 2-1 in their final league game last weekend, watched by a crowd of 816.

Ducks took an early lead through Jamie Rudd, but Bedford came back with two goals for Rene Howe, making it 33 for the season.

Eagles completed their season with 91 points from their 38 games, ten points ahead of nearest rivals Berkhamsted. With 28 wins, they lost only three times, with seven draws.