Bedford got their pre-season programme off to the best possible start with a 2-1 away win over former Investec Premier side Beeston.
First team opportunities were handed to Harri Kinnear, Kelly Bingham, Louise Beechener and Claire Higginson, while Tor Caldwell deputised for Leanne Sargeant in the Bedford goal and 16-year-old Pippa Jones joined the squad on the occasion of Rachel Jackson’s first game as captain.
Beeston’s youthful players provided pace in attack but Bedford defended resolutely throughout with some strong tackles from Beth Noble and Harri Kinnear. Bedford carved out a few half chances in the first half, with Pippa Jones spinning and firing just wide, while at the other end Emma Pinny and Jackson were protecting Caldwell in goal.
Into the second 35 and Bedford stepped up their intensity in the press which was well organised by Charlotte Holland in central midfield.
Bedford’s forwards were aggressive and patient and forced the Beeston defence into errors. Holland on her reverse, Jones on the volley and half back SJ Darrington all popped up in the circle and were close to giving the visitors the lead before the deadlock was broken by Andrea Mason who finished from close range with the assist from Kate Costin.
Bedford were dictating the play but Beeston, through their talismanic forward Sophie Robinson, were always a threat. When they turned over the ball, they found themselves with numbers over and the bees got back on level terms.
Caldwell then made her most impressive intervention of the match, coming out to deny another Beeston forward in a one-on-one, before Bedford again took charge with some confident link up play from Verity, Mason, McLeod and Pinny.
Bedford were playing some good hockey down the right and, after Costin disposed a Beeston defender, she drove to the near post before playing a pass across the face of the goal which was gleefully dispatch by Higginson to earn Bedford a very pleasing victory.
Bedford’s next fixture is on September 3 when they host Cambridge City who will replace Bedford in National League this season. Push back is at Bedford School at 7-45pm.