Town held by Barton despite Beech’s third goal in three

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Josh Beech’s third goal in as many games since he returned to the Eyrie helped Bedford Town gain a point in a 1-1 draw at Barton Rovers on Saturday afternoon.

Never a classic on a heavy pitch, neither side gave Eagles keeper Tyler Reading or Kyle Forster in the Barton goal any trouble in the first 45 minutes, and the first real save came just before half-time.

Midway through the half, Matt Clifford’s corner from the right found Sergine Mor Diop at the near post, and his glancing header grazed the top of the bar and off.

A little while later, Kyal McNulty saw Forster off his line, and produced a 30-yard shot that went wide of the upright.

With three minutes of the half to go, the first save was made as Reading produced a routine stop from Ashton Grant, while James Bishop whistled a shot just past the post for the hosts.

Barton had more of the possession early in the second half, and the pressure nearly told when Warren Plowright’s header was cleared off the line by James Peters.

Barton had another good chance when Tyler Ingham managed to head goalwards from a free-kick, forcing Reading to dive to tip the ball round the post.

Bedford then probed at the Barton defence, and in the 75th minute the pressure told. After a couple of attempts at goal that came to nothing, the ball was picked up by Beech just outside the area. The midfielder found Diop on the left byline, and when the cross came in, Beech arrived to guide the ball into the net.

However, the lead only lasted six minutes as Barton responded strongly. Bedford thought they had weathered the storm after a free-kick into the danger area caused chaos, and prompted a superb one-handed save from Reading to scoop the ball off the line.

But the loose ball was only cleared out to the edge of the area, and Grant fired a low shot that went inside the left hand post.

Neither side carved out any other opening to find a winning goal for the remainder of the game, as a niggly edge crept in to the pre-Christmas clash.

Next up for Bedford is the Boxing Day tie at home to AFC Rushden & Diamonds. The game kicks off at 3pm at the Eyrie.

Eagles: Tyler Reading, Will Wright, Matt Clifford, Ollie Peters, James Peters, Kyal McNulty, Josh Bamford, Josh Beech, Serigne Mor Diop, Solomon Sambou, Bilal Yafai (Daril Ngwala 56).

Subs not used: James Hillsdon, Kyle Lincoln, Maxime Fondop Siwe.

Barton: Kyle Forster, Jack Keating, Lucas Perry, Joe Reynolds, Paul Andrews (c)(Paul Condon 71), Warren Plowright, Jordan Davis (Keiran Reid 80), Ashton Grant, Russell Bull, Tyler Ingham, James Bishop.

Subs not used: Aaron Morgan, Ben Thornton, Ethan Wallbank.

Referee: Adam Crysall.

Assistants: Martyn Gospel & Mark Wetherall.

Attendance: 203.