Bedford Town miss out on league and cup double after penalty shoot out loss

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The Bedfordshire FA Senior Cup

Bedford Town were on the wrong end of a shock cup final result last night (Tuesday) after losing on penalties to Spartans South Midlands Premier side, Leighton Town in the Bedfordshire Senior Cup final.

The county’s showpiece event attracted 1,080 fans to Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road and the fans were treated to a game that had almost everything and ended in dramatic fashion.

Just days earlier, Gary Setchell’s side lifted the Southern League Central Division One trophy in front of a celebratory Eyrie crowd after a final day 2-1 victory against Aylesbury United.

Rene Howe’s 32nd and 33rd goals of a prolific season helped the Eagles fight back on Saturday but he wasn’t able to find the target in a see-saw game in Luton that finished two goals apiece.

Manager Gary Setchell has masterminded a superb league season for the Eagles

Lewis Miccio set Bedford Town on their way with a smart header after just four minutes last night and it looked like it might be a long evening for their ninth tier opposition.

Moments later however, Leighton Town were level through Luke Pyman and after twenty minutes they took a shock lead as Duncan Culley scored past Alex Street.

Controversial red card stops Eagles in their tracks

The game was an end-to-end affair in the first half, with chances for both sides but a controversial incident on the stroke of half-time put Bedford Town on the back foot.

Charley Sanders – arguably one of the players of the season – was controversially adjudged to have fouled Culley who was through on goal and with the red card that followed, the Eagles were down to ten.

A flurry of yellow cards kicked the second half off, but with the clock ticking down, Gary Setchell’s side could not find a way through for the equaliser.

That was until the last of seven additional minutes of added time, where Alex Street launched a free-kick into the area for Rory McAuley to poke home at the second time of asking to force a penalty shoot-out.

It was the final time that Bedford Town could celebrate though as Leighton Town kept their composure to secure a 5-3 victory on penalties to take the trophy home to Leighton Buzzard.

It was a deserved success for Leighton Town who beat Biggleswade FC and big favourites, Luton Town en route to the final to cap a good season, as they finished 4th in South Midlands Premier Division.

As for Bedford Town, they have one more chance at cup success as they host Plymouth Parkway at The Eyrie on Saturday in the Southern League Championship final.

Plymouth Parkway won the Southern League South Division One title and have also won promotion to the seventh tier, but Gary Setchell will hope to cap off a stellar season with one final victory.

Tickets are available for Saturday’s game here.

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