Following on from their 1-0 defeat at Biggleswade FC, Bedford Town’s pre-season campaign turned up a few notches with games against Championship opposition.
While six tiers may separate the likes of Bedford Town from Luton Town and Peterborough United, the friendlies provided a chance for the squad to pit their wits against the pros.
And with a bumper crowd at The Eyrie for both occasions, the club also took in some much-needed income as the season proper looms large.
First up was The Posh, who still have former Bedford Town player and manager Barry Fry as their Director of Football, but the newly-promoted Championship side were far too strong for the Eagles, winning 8-0.
It didn’t take long for Peterborough to take the lead on Saturday afternoon, with Jorge Grant opening the scoring for Darren Ferguson’s side.
Further goals from Nathan Thompson, Ricky Jade-Jones and a second for Grant made it 4-0 at the half-time break.
A brace apiece for Harrison Burrows and highly-rated Sudanese striker, Mohamed Eisa completed the rout on a difficult afternoon for Gary Setchell’s team.
The challenge was not made easier in midweek either, as the Eagles welcomed Nathan Jones’ Luton Town to the Eyrie as they put up a brave display against the Hatters.
Despite eventually losing 5-0, the visitors were only a couple of goals ahead until the 75th minute when the gulf in fitness showed.
First half goals from Mendes Gomes and an unlucky own goal from Drew Richardson kept Bedford Town in the game up until the last quarter.
With the Eagles tiring, late strikes from former Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa winger, Henri Lansbury plus two goals in the final minute gave the Hatters a comfortable win.
The two final scores won’t perturb Gary Setchell too much; and with more winnable friendlies to come, his side will look to begin the league season on a high.
The Eagles’ next game is next Tuesday night against Harborough Town of the United Counties League, with this weekend’s friendly against St Ives Town called off due to Bedford’s growing injury list.
There is plenty to cheer for the Eagles faithful however, as star striker Craig Mackail-Smith has signed a one-year contract extension, with Callum Donnelly and Matt Harriott following suit.
With five more pre-season games to play, Bedford Town are looking to find momentum for a season in which they will be challenging for the league title and continue their hopes to rise up the football pyramid.