Bedford Town out of FA Trophy but Kempston Rovers continue fine form

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Image Credit: Adrian Brown / Bedford Town

After a relatively mixed start to the season for Bedford Town, their fortunes have taken a tumble in recent weeks with four losses in a row including a comprehensive FA Trophy defeat at the weekend.

A Jed Abbey double for Alvechurch set them on their way to a 3-0 win at The Eyrie on Saturday, dumping the Eagles out of a competition they have fared well in recent years.

A disappointing performance was made even worse with injuries for Sam Dreyer and Danny Setchell on Saturday, although Gary Setchell has moved to bolster his squad in recent weeks.

The signing of former Luton Town star George Thorne was greeted with great enthusiasm with Afolabi Soyemi-Ololade also adding to the forward ranks but it’s perhaps a transfer involving a defender that has sparked most interest.

Right back Michael Harriman made 52 appearances for Northampton Town as they reached the League Two play-offs last season, but the Eagles have managed to secure his signature in a move labelled a “coup” for the seventh tier side.

Manager Gary Setchell said, “Michael is a great signing for the club. He has an amazing amount of experience in the football league, which will help the squad immensely. We’re all looking forward to seeing what he brings to the side.”

Four straight defeats for the Eagles

Harriman made his debut in Saturday’s FA Trophy third qualifying round defeat, but his signing will hopefully booster a Bedford side who are finding themselves in the middle of a tough patch.

A 4-2 loss at home to Stourbridge was followed up with a 2-1 defeat at second placed, Nuneaton Borough as Bedford Town slipped to 18th in Southern League Premier Division Central.

While Nuneaton was always going to be a tough fixture, the home loss to Stourbridge was particularly disappointing, and involved a needless red card for Eagles talisman Callum Donnelly.

Goals for Connor Tomlinson and Charley Sanders, occasionally used as an option up front in recent weeks kept Bedford in the game, but two late goals for Stourbridge saw them take home the spoils.

Sanders was on the scoresheet again at Nuneaton, securing a first half equaliser but Matthew Stenson scored a winner for the Midlands side, who keep up their chase of league leaders, Tamworth.

Kempston’s golden partnership doing the damage

A short distance across town, fortunes are far different for a side who many had thought would be facing another relegation battle in Southern League Central Division One.

Rovers finished one place above the relegation zone last season, but the Walnuts are unbeaten in seven league games so far, securing five wins in the process as they currently occupy second spot.

Two cup defeats against Bedford Town and Dereham Town are the only blemishes on an otherwise superb card so far; with three consecutive wins in the league to come after.

Fortune favours the brave for Kempston who are flying under new manager, Chris Nunn.

It’s a pair of Bens who are propelling Kempston to new heights; Stevens and Baker netting in all three wins.

The pair were both on the scoresheet, either side of an Emmanuel Dehie strike to secure a 3-2 against Hertford Town in mid September, while both found the net again in a convincing 3-0 victory against Harlow in their next game on October 1st.

The pair were at it again on Saturday, scoring one apiece either side of half time to grind out a 2-1 win against FC Romania.

They are joint top scorers in the division with six each alongside Ware’s Liam Dulson and will look to continue their goal scoring exploits against Kidlington tomorrow night.

Elsewhere, Real Bedford continue to dominate South Midlands Division One as they kept up their 100% record with a 4-1 win against Winslow United on Saturday.

Rob Sinclair’s side now have 11 wins out of 11 and they’ll look to make it twelve as they host Rugby Borough at McMullen Park on Saturday.