Bedford Town FC 2 – 1 Thame United FC
After weeks of preseason training and matches, and assembling a strong squad of players, you never actually know how things will go until you take to the pitch for the first match of the season.
The Bedford Town management have every intention of gaining promotion this season, but it looked like they may have squandered two points in the first game as a determined Thame shut up shop too, as they thought, ensure a share of the spoils.
Bedford started strongly but both sides had chances dealt with adequately by the opposing defences.
In the 23rd minute, Bedford’s Ebby Nelson-Addy picked up the first of the matches eight yellow cards, but he was soon to turn from villain to hero as five minutes later his pass through the defence from inside the circle reached Dan Walker, on the right.
The striker took the ball on with the Thame defence trailing, and slotted a low shot past the advancing Craig Hill to see the ball nestle in the net. (28′ BT 1-0 TU)
From a corner Cade Stevens-Abbey was the next with a good chance for the home team, but his shot from 22 yards cleared the cross bar.
The Eagles lead was to be short lived as Thame got their equaliser. A cross from the left, reached Duran Martin, and with no one around him, he provided a spectacular looking header to plant the ball into the left corner of the net. (38′ BT 1-1 TU)
Thame’s Gregory Hackett and Bedford’s Derek Ubah both saw yellow in separate incidents, but there were to be no more goals in the half.
Thame came out for the second half looking to secure a pont, which saw Eagles joint Manager Nathan Abbey make changes, that were ultimately to prove successful.
Scott Joseph, who had a fantastic preseason but wasn’t getting the best chances in this match, was replaced by Tre Mitford.
Soon after Aaron Dillon made a fantastic double save, as Duran Martin smashed in a venomous shot from twenty two yards. Dillon saved, but the ball went to Dan West, whose header was also saved, but the Thame player was flagged offside anyway.
There were then changes made in Bedford’s midfield as Ben Ford replaced Nelson-Addy.
Harrison Mepham was booked for Thame as he – cynically some might say – brought down Dan Walker, as the Bedford striker was racing down the left.
In his last throw of the dice Abbey brought on attacking midfielder Nathan Olukanmi who replaced centre back Ubah.
That substitution was to change the game as Nathan Olukamni played the ball right to Dan Walker, who immediately crossed into the area and Tre Mitford came in unannounced to put the ball into the roof of the net from ten yards. (84′ BT 2-1 TU)
A goal down, Thame were forced onto the offensive, but in the dying minutes of the game, the only real action was another two bookings, which were shared between the clubs.
A hard fought win for Bedford, but few could argue it wasn’t the right result. There will be plenty more matches this season where wins have to be ground out, if promotion is to be gained.
After the match Joint Manager Nathan Abbey, speaking exclusively to Bedford Independent said, “It’s always good to get off to a good start.
“Our football wasn’t it’s normal free flowing style. Thame made it very difficult as they set up for a point with ten players behind the ball. Nevertheless we were eventually rewarded for our constant pressure.
“We now move onto Tuesday’s game on the road.”
Tuesday’s match is away to Berkhamstead Town, who also won their first fixture yesterday against North Leigh by the same scoreline. Kick off at Broadwater is 19.45.
Bedford Town lineup
- Arron Dillon
- Cade Stevens-Abbey
- Louis Hall
- James Sage
- Joe Steele
- Derek Ubah. (16 Nathan Olukanmi)
- Ebby Nelson-Addy. (Ben Ford)
- Callum Donnelly (C)
- Scott Joseph (15 Tre Mitford ⚽)
- Connor Tomlinson
- Daniel Walker ⚽
Substitutes (not used): Nick Bennion, Jack Vasey
Words: Michael Jarman-Webb
Photos: Bedford Town FC