Brave Bedford battle back to draw with Dereham

Simba Chigwada was unlucky to hit the post for Bedford
Simba Chigwada was unlucky to hit the post for Bedford

Bedford battled back bravely to take a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Dereham I in their opening game of the East Premier League A saason.

Bedford made the long trip to Dereham full of confidence after a strong pre-season, looking for three points to get their league campaign off to a flying start.

However, they started the game slowly, with the sticky pitch making it difficult for them to move the ball at their normal pace and intensity.

The early stages of the game were fairly even; Bedford trying to probe and find a way through a dogged Dereham defence, who on the occasions when they won possession tried to hit the forward line quickly.

After a good save by the home goalkeeper from Hogget, it was Dereham who took the lead halfway through the first half, when a poor ball into midfield from Bilham was cut out by the Dereham press, allowing a forward time and space to slot away the opener.

Bedford recovered well and dominated the rest of the half, forcing more chances as Simba Chigwada hit the post, while Drummond and Wilson saw chances flash wide.

Bedford started the second half the better side – while still not playing at their fluent best – but could not turn possession into chances.

Hogget was perhaps a little unlucky when he received a yellow card, but this actually had a galvanising effect.

Bedford started to move the ball with a bit more pace, and were able to pin the home side back, allowing only brief forays into Bedford territory.

More chances came and went, with Chigwada prominent in everything good that Bedford did.

It was Hogget who made the breakthrough with a strong direct effort from a penalty corner, levelling with eight minutes to go.

Bedford were then guilty of switching off and conceded a flick almost immediately, with Dolan unlucky to be penalised for a foul on a player who was driving away from goal.

The flick was converted and Bedford found themselves 2-1 down with less than five minutes left on the clock.

However, Bedford piled forward and got their reward, with debutante Chitty scoring with a nice tomahawk finish from the top of the D to earn a share of the spoils for his side.