Athletic marching on in the cup with victory over Luton

Match action from Bedford Athletic's victory over Luton
Match action from Bedford Athletic's victory over Luton

Bedford Athletic advanced to the final of the Bombardier East Midlands Cup with a 29 points to 17 win at Luton.

In yet another game significantly influenced by the weather conditions, Athletic kept their composure to reverse a half-time deficit of 12-10 and secure the win.

Match action from Bedford Athletic's victory over Luton

Match action from Bedford Athletic's victory over Luton

Bedford started the game playing against the wind and the opening exchanges were frantic and chaotic.

Eventually Luton carved out a chance when full-back Tom Mahendran kicked ahead down the left wing, forcing his opposite number Paul Ryder to carry the ball into touch. From the lineout a well executed catch and drive routine saw Luton cross for the opening try touched down by No 8 Steve Allen.

The conversion was missed in the strong winds that continued to contribute to the lack of cohesion and accuracy in the visitors’ play.

Bedford’s Stephen Woodhead did make a fine break but lacked support and the attack was swallowed up.

Match action from Bedford Athletic's victory over Luton

Match action from Bedford Athletic's victory over Luton

Luton had a good chance to extend their lead when awarded a penalty in front of the posts, but chose to kick for touch instead.

Their lineout was disrupted and, minutes later, Athletic were on the attack as Josh Cassell tore through the home defence and fed Steven Smith to finish the move off under the posts for the first try of the day for the away team.

James Mortimer converted and then added a penalty, and Athletic should have taken the lead into half-time.

However, lapses in concentration allowed Luton captain Adam Harris to burrow his way over on the stroke of half-time, with Rik Hobbs adding the conversion.

Leading 12-10, Luton started the second half badly as they had players in front of the kicker at the kick off.

From the resulting scrum, Bedford attacked out wide and Rob Watkins finished the move off to restore their lead 55 seconds into the second period. Mortimer converted.

Luton could have pulled points back but Hobbs missed a penalty on 46 minutes and Athletic continued to take a firm grip on the game with another try, nicely orchestrated by Mortimer who put Cassell into a gap and he beat the cover defence to the line. Mortimer’s conversion stretched the lead to 24-12.

The visitors could have had another try when David Simpson was stopped just short of the line with his trail leg in touch.

They did not have to wait long for their fourth score of the day, though, as Liam Walsh finished off a move down the right wing for a 29-12 lead.

With Woodhead in the bin for kicking the ball away, Luton pulled a try back on 65 minutes when Athletic made hard work of several opportunities to clear their lines; Alex Dola-Lami eventually crashing over but the try was not converted and the game petered out in midfield.

With a cup final at the end of the season to look forward to at Goldington Road against either Kettering or Northampton Old Scouts, Athletic return to league action this Saturday when they host Market Rasen & Louth at Putnoe Wood.