Eagles sink Northwood to keep FA Trophy dreams alive

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Two weeks after beating them in the league, The Eagles won again at Northwood on Saturday afternoon - this time it was the FA Trophy, and again a late goal from the home side made the game interesting until the final whistle.

The fortnight before, Jon Taylor made his debut as Bedford manager, including signings of his own added to the side. Fourteen days on, the side were enhanced by other signings as the boss continues to find the right balance.

The line up included four of Taylor’s signings, with the other two on the bench.

One face gone from the team was Jack Jones; the young defender played his last game for Bedford the week previous, before emigrating to the other side of the world.

After missing two games, Tyler Reading was back in goal, with Zaki Oualah on the bench. With Jones now gone, Kyal McNulty slotted into the right back position. Josh Bamford was given a midfield role, alongside new signing Solomon Sambou. The most recent of the signings, Mor Serigne Diop went straight in a No 9.

The start of the game was cagey. Bedford had the edge, but any attack was dealt with by the Northwood defence.

Just before the half hour, Max Holland found Niko Muir with a cross. The striker managed to find a gap in the defence, but as he shot, the gap closed with two Bedford defenders and the ball deflected for a corner.

Just after the half hour, Dylan Gittens long diagonal cross from left into the area found the head of Javia Roberts. The diminutive wide man stretched to get to the ball and looped a header goalwards that Northwood keeper Berkley Laurencin gathered at the second attempt.

Iin the 36th minute, Kyle Lincoln’s long pass from left back found Roberts on the right wing. The winger raced into the box and fired off a low shot; Laurencin saved, but could only parry the ball, and Diop was on hand to tap the rebound into the net for a debut goal.

Four minutes gone from the goal and Bedford survived a scramble in their area. A corner came over, and Jon Munday forced a save off Tyler Reading.

The following scramble ended when Omar Vassell’s shot came off the foot of the post. Northwood won another corner almost immediately, and Reading was again alert, as he saved Mark Burgess’ header.

Just before half time, Bilal Yafai’s low shot was saved by Laurencin.

Northwood could have equalised just after the restart, when Louis Stead wasted a good opportunity from close range to put the ball over the bar, following a free-kick.

Instead, 10 minutes into the half, Bedford increased their lead. Diop was felled in area by Mark Burgess, and Bilal Yafai dispatched the spot kick into the top left hand corner of the net for 2-0.

Diop then tricked his way into the Northwood area, but his angled drive was stopped by Laurencin.

Mark Burgess fired narrowly over the bar, just before the hour mark, and three minutes past the hour, the Northwood defender was deflecting a Roberts shot over his own bar.

Bedford soaked up some pressure as Northwood needed to take the game to their visitors. First Solomon Sambou nicked the ball off the feet off Michael Murray, after the substitute was teeing up for a shot.

Then Reading had to save an inadvertent deflection off Kyal McNulty, before Tommy Hull put in a good tackle to take the ball off Muir’s feet.

Northwood did get a reward, although it was with a couple of minutes to go. The Bedford defence, for once, didn’t deal with a cross into the area, and Muir was on hand to fire home and give the away fans a bit of a scare.

A minute into stoppage time, though, Bedford were home and dry. As Northwood pressed, a long clearance out of defence by Josh Bamford saw Diop race for the ball, and forced Laurencin to come out of his area. Diop got to the ball first and flicked it past the now stranded ‘keeper, before calmly steering it into the net for 3-1.

The last action of the game came when Andy Lomas just fired wide of Reading’s right hand post. Bedford are rewarded with a home tie against Southern Premier Division Weymouth in the next round. This game is to be played on Saturday, November 14.

Eagles: Tyler Reading, Kyal McNulty, Kyle Lincoln, Tommy Hull (c), James Peters, Josh Bamford, Javia Roberts, Solomon Sambou, Mor Serigne Diop, Bilal Yafai (Stefan Powell 79), Dylan Gittens.

Subs not used: Nat Lewars, Marcus Campbell, Zaki Oualah.

Northwood: Berkley Laurencin, Omar Vassell, Andy Lomas, Jon Munday (Michael Murray ht), Mark Burgess, Bayley Brown (George Nicholas 64), Rob Hastings (Joakim Ehui 72), James Burgess (c), Niko Muir, Louis Stead, Max Holland.

Subs not used: Alex Nolan, Jermaine Heron.

Referee: Christopher Kidd.

Assistants: Thomas Kelly & Robert Holt.

Attendance: 91.