FA Trophy second qualifying round: Bedford Town 2 Chippenham Town 1
Bedford Town progressed to the FA Trophy third qualifying round on Saturday afternoon, after securing a hard fought and hard earned win against Evo-Stik Premier Division side, and modern day rivals, Chippenham Town.
Bedford had five players out of action for the game, including three injured (Claudio Dias, Tommy Glasscoe and Sam Macrae), one cup-tied (Ross Oulton), and one suspended (Dan Burke).
From the start, Bedford pushed forward against their Wiltshire rivals, and within seven minutes, had the lead.
It all started with a Paul Cooper cross that was put out for a corner by Iain Harvey. A minute and two corners later, the ball was in the back of the net. Joe Hopewell - instead of putting the second one into the area - pushed the ball to Greg Ling, on the left corner of the Chippenham box.
Ling made space for a shot that flew through a crowded area and Jeff Woodward was on hand at the right hand post to steer the ball home.
The lead was doubled in the 23rd minute when Tom Liversedge efficiently beat Kent Kauppinen from the penalty spot, sticking the ball low to the keeper’s right.
Awarding the spot kick was controversial, as the ball clearly hit Greg Tindle’s hand from Cooper’s flick, but referee, Mr Jerden had to decide whether it was ball to hand or vice versa.
Eagles keeper Garry Malone was brought into action just after the half hour, diving to his left to palm Michael Pook’s free kick away for a corner. A minute or so later, Bedford were denied a third goal. Ling, causing trouble in midfield, played the ball right to Rob Parker as his low cross to the edge of the area was taken up by Cooper, and despite placing the ball past the oncoming Kaupinnen, the defender watched in dismay as Conor McCormack came to the rescue with a clearance away from the line.
Another save from Malone came with five minutes of the half remaining, when an ingenious touch from James Guthrie saw the ball bouncing awkwardly goalwards, but the Bedford guardian managed to collect the ball.
Josh Winters, usually trying to set up his team mates, had a couple of chances as the half was coming to a close.
Firstly, his free kick was curled over the Chippenham wall, but headed away, then his shot, from a Cooper cross, was deflected off for a corner.
As the teams trooped off for the break, any neutral would have observed Bedford as the team from a higher division.
Not so for the second half as Chippenham had to come out and attack, and did so.
The visitors reduced the deficit only eight minutes in when Mark Preece rose higher than anyone in the Bedford area to direct a header into the bottom right hand corner of the net
Possession, in this half, was definitely won by Chippenham, but a stubborn and unwavering Bedford defence kept any chances after the goal to a minimum.
At the other end, Joe Hopewell’s free kick caused problems as Kauppinen had to bat the ball down before collecting.
Despite their possession, Kauppinen kept his side in the game as in the 77th minute his perfectly timed slide tackle denied Cooper another opportunity at goal.
With the clock running down, and whistles coming from the home crowd, Chippenham had their last chance when Luke Ballinger’s glancing header bounced the wrong side of the right hand post.
Bedford will now face Weston super Mare in the next round.
Eagles: Garry Malone, Paul Cooper, Joe Hopewell (Tom Rawlings 81), Stuart Smeathers, Jeff Woodward, Ollie Wilkinson [c], Josh McGoldrick, Rob Parker, Tom Liversedge (Scott Cross 81), Josh Winters, Greg Ling.
Subs not used: Nick Whittam, Todd Sawko.
Bluebirds: Kent Kauppinen, Conor McCormack, Iain Harvey (Michael Pook 17), Matt Coupe [c], Greg Tindle, Mark Preece, Alex Ferguson, Mark Francis (Luke Ballinger 74), Darren Edwards (Ryan Campbell 56), Jordan Roberts, James Guthrie.
Subs not used: Jon Beeden, Bryan Smith.
Referee: Mr. Jerden.