Bedford Town have had a tough time both on and off the field after the loss of club talisman David Taylor.
Losses in the Southern League Cup to Biggleswade Town and Carlton Town in the FA Trophy soon became insignificant when the news broke that the man who has revitalised the club in recent years, Director David Taylor had passed away.
Joint manager Nathan Abbey summed up perfectly the feeling within the club, “We haven’t just lost a great man and gentleman, we have lost a leader amongst men.
“David lead from the front and he played a major part in moving this football club in the right direction.
“His knowledge and words of wisdom will stay with us all forever, we will strive to do our best on and off the pitch to complete the vision that he has set out.
“We owe it to him as a football club to make him proud that his work will continue in the way he would have liked it to”
There was a subdued atmosphere at the club on Saturday as the players prepared for the first home match.
A pre-match ceremony took place with all players wearing a special t-shirt in tribute to David, and a minutes applause before kick off.
The Eagles faced Wantage Town who gained promotion to the division last year. They have found this season difficult though, being rooted firmly to the bottom of the table.
Bedford named new striker Tom Hitchcock in the starting line up for his first league game, having already found the net in both cup games.
Connor Tomlinson returned from the injury that’s kept him out for several weeks and with Dan Walker they formed a three pronged attack on the Wantage goal.
As could be expected given the circumstances, Bedford started off slowly, but were soon pilling pressure on the Wantage defence.
Wantage had a new man between the sticks, on loan from Barnet who initially managed to keep everything out that the home team could throw at him.
It took until the 39th minute for Bedford to make the breakthrough.
Brett Longden, on the left pushed the ball forward for Hitchcock. He controlled it and from the left, inside the area, put a low shot past Renell McKenzie-Lyle.
It seemed that a narrow win could be on the cards until the second goal come courtesy of a Dan Walker assist in the second half.
He played the ball in from the right and despite McKenzie-Lyle trying to intervene, Tom Hitchcock put the ball into the net for his brace.
Nathan Olukumni replaced Tomlinson and two minutes later scored.
Following a through ball from Ebby Nelson-Addy. Olukamni ran on to the ball unopposed on the right corner of the area from where he smashed it into the net.
Next it was Walkers turn to get on the scoresheet, as he latched onto a through ball and with just the keeper to beat, put the ball confidently in the back of the net.
Defender Brett Longdon who in recent games is making a habit of scoring got the Eagles fifth when he decided to smash the ball home over the outstretched hand of McKenzie-Lyle.
Still not finished substitute Andrew Phillips made it 6-0 when he combined with fellow substitute Jack Vasey.
He ran onto the ball and calmly pushed it round McKenzie-Lyle, who saw it roll inside the right hand post securing a 6-0 victory for the hosts.
A good result, and a fitting tribute to David Taylor that sees the side climb three places in the table to seventh.
Next Bedford Town visit Leighton Town on Tuesday 22 October at 19.45 for their first outing in the Beds Senior Cup.
Bedford Town line-up:
1 Aaron Dillon
2 Cade Stevens Abbey
3 Brett Longdon
4 Damien Green
5 Joe Steele
6 Ollie Swaine
7 Callum Milne
8 Ebby Nelson-Addy
9 Tom Hitchcock (71′ Jack Vasey)
10 Connor Tomlinson (60′ Nathan Olukumni)
11 Dan Walker (72′ Andrew Phillips)
Substitutes not used: Scott Joseph, Nuredin Lilaj
Words: Michael Jarman-Webb
Photos: Bedford Town FC