Bedford Town retake league lead in see-saw title battle with Berkhamsted

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It was another busy week of action for Bedford Town, who have retaken the lead in Southern League Central Division One over title rivals, Berkhamsted.

The Eagles lead by two points but have played a game more as the season reaches the halfway point with Town and Berkhamsted beginning to pull away from the rest of the pack.

North Leigh had been the early pace setters, but have fallen down the table drastically in recent weeks, encapsulated by Saturday’s performance, as Gary Setchell’s side came to town and dispatched them with ease.

The game began at a frantic pace as Drew Richardson gave the Eagles the lead after just two minutes from twenty five yards, but North Leigh hit back almost immediately through Roger James.

As the rain fell, both teams squandered chances and looked to be going into the break level until Connor Tomlinson gave Bedford the advantage once more.

It was a lead Bedford Town were not in a mood to give up despite golden chances for Roger James, before two late goals killed the tie.

Connor Tomlinson gained his second of the afternoon, collecting a long ball before cutting inside and superbly curling the ball past the North Leigh goalkeeper, Adam North.

And it’s a rare game where star man Rene Howe doesn’t get on the scoresheet; the former Peterborough United striker pouncing off a deflected free kick to consolidate a 4-1 win for Bedford Town.

With Berkhamsted losing 3-0 at third placed Dunstable Town, Bedford Town leapfrogged their Hertfordshire title rivals to top spot.

However, they were unable to capitalise on Berkhamsted dropping more points at St Neots Town, as the Eagles played out a 1-1 draw at Aylesbury United on Wednesday evening.

Both goals of a well-contested affair came in a frenetic ten minute period in the first half; Jordan Jenkins giving the hosts the lead before Rene Howe equalised with his 17th goal of the season.

Gary Setchell would not have been happy with the manner of how his team lost the lead, as Alex Street didn’t collect the corner, allowing Jenkins a free tap in.

But the Aylesbury defence were equally to blame for the equaliser; conceding an unnecessary corner and paying the price as Howe headed home.

A second Howe goal was ruled out for offside early in the second half, and further chances for Dan Walker and Howe went begging as the Eagles left Aylesbury with a point.

This weekend sees Bedford Town host Wantage Town who sit in the relegation zone, with three points expected to keep the lead over Berkhamsted.

Kempston Rovers sit a place above Wantage Town after a 2-1 home loss to Thame United and the fixtures don’t get easier, as they travel to Kidlington and St Neots Town next.

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