The first Saturday of the New Year saw Bedford Town welcome high-flying Berkhamsted to the Bright Management Eyrie, hoping for a better result than the New Year’s Day loss at Corby Town.
There was a boost for the Eagles before a ball was kicked as they announced the signing of striker Jake Newman from local rivals, Kempston Rovers as he slotted straight in up front alongside captain Hitchcock.
The first chance of the game came for Berkhamsted via former Eagles winger Will Summerfield, poking just wide after a swift move down the right hand side, as Bedford responded with a chance for Tom Hitchcock in an otherwise even start.
Pre-match optimism about Newman’s acquisition paid dividends twenty minutes in as a speculative long ball by Ben Ford over the top allowed the debutant in on goal, and despite needing two bites at the cherry, Newman slotted home to give the Eagles the lead.
Bedford Town looked good value going forward, with Ben Ford in particular pulling the strings in midfield but Berkhamsted had pace on the break as Jonathan Lacey ran clear to chip in to Alex Witham who equalised with a deft header for the visitors.
Berkhamsted continued to counter attack, as Erin Amu spurning a golden opportunity to play in Lewis Toomey with a single defender in their way, but a heavy touch ruined their chance as the sides went into the half time break at a goal apiece.
The visitors came out of the traps in the second half and it was not long before they took the lead, with Summerfield scrambling in from six yards out to give Berkhamsted a 2-1 lead after 50 minutes.
Bedford Town thought they had equalised as Newman nodded in a cross from Dan Walker but the intervention of an offside flag scuppered their celebrations, and despite the referee going over to talk to his assistant, the decision stood and Berkhamsted remained 2-1 up.
The majority of the Eagles’ play came from the right hand side; Dan Walker causing a lot of problems for Berkhamsted left back, Matt Cooper but the quality was lacking in the final third as Bedford could not find a way through to an equaliser.
The controversy continued as a second goal was disallowed for Bedford Town, Joe Steele’s delight short lived after he had poked home, as the crowd’s furore was mixed with a sense of resignation as the hosts remained behind.
Despite promising breaks for Bedford, including one for substitute Connor Tomlinson mere seconds after he had come on, they were not able to create any clear cut chances as the clock ran down.
Bedford Town’s build up play continued to look fruitful but Berkhamsted held on comfortably, with little pressure put on them in the closing stages, securing a 2-1 victory that keeps them in touch of the automatic promotion spots.
For the Eagles, it was a better performance but for all of their pace going forward, they were not able to provide the cutting edge and will hope for a more clinical performance next weekend at Thame United.