Bedford Town woes worsen with loss to Ware

Lee Bircham has a task on his hands to turn around the Eagles' fortunes Image: Bedford Town FC / 'X'

A second-half capitulation from Bircham’s Bedford Town sees the Eagles title hopes slip further away and Ware’s promotion challenge enlivened on an eventful Saturday afternoon in Hertfordshire.

A quickfire brace from 33-year old Ware number 9, Jon Clements, cancelled out a feat of the same nature early on by Bedford’s Leon Lobjoit to help clinch a crucial victory for third-placed, Ware.

Bedford made the trip to Ware with the knowledge that they had picked up just two points from a possible nine in their last three away matches scoring only three goals in the process. 

Recent home form for Bedford had also been turbulent, and with the midweek departures of Adam Watkins and Louis Walsh alongside the acquisition of non-league veteran, Adam Martin, they were in desperate need of some stability in the form of three points.

Ware had most recently beaten steadily slipping North Leigh by a convincing three goals to one.

Paul Halsey’s side have made a timely climb up Southern Football League Division One Central, conceding just three goals in their last six games and sitting a mere five points behind Bedford before this weekend’s match. 

An impressive 331 were packed into Wodson Park to bear witness to this top of the table clash.

Lobjoit double puts Eagles in first half control

It was the away side who started with the greater intent and snapshots from Lobjoit and Green showed promise, but were unable to test the Ware captain Fred Burbidge between the sticks.

It wasn’t long however before Bedford made their pressure count. Just as they did against Hadley a week ago, the Eagles struck first.

Leon Lobjoit cut in from the right flank and played it off to surprise starter, Henry Dudley, who feigned a shot on goal before guiding the ball through delicately for Lobjoit who had continued his run.

Bedford’s number 10 composed himself before cutely dinking the ball over Burbidge for one nil. 

It wasn’t long until he was at it again, just six minutes after his superb opener, Lobjoit opened up some breathing room for Bedford with his second.

Ryan Blake managed to dig out a cross which was only half cleared by an uncharacteristically lackadaisical Ware defence.

It fell delightfully for Lobjoit who set himself and drove it firmly in to the bottom right corner. The Eagles seemed as if they had found their rhythm and were looking near on unstoppable, with two goals in barely 20 minutes of football.

The old adage goes, “All good things must come to an end”.

In the case of Bedford Town it took just four minutes for their euphoric high to be dispelled by a Ware goal. Alex Warman bundled the ball in from a corner and reignited the belief within his so far despondent teammates.

The remainder of the half saw Ware fail to capitalise on the momentum provided by their goal however they did manage to keep Bedford’s front three of Blake, Lobjoit and Dulson quiet, which was proving quite the task in the opening twenty minutes.

Ware comeback downs Town

A slight injury to Dudley in the first half meant that new signing Adam Martin would be given the chance to impact the game in the second.

Whatever Halsey said to his team during the half-time break, it inspired the Blues to return to the pitch a changed side. The equaliser came within minutes of the whistle blowing for the second forty five. 

Bedford Town switched off from a corner kick for the home side and were unable to convincingly clear the ball from their own 18 yard box.

It bounced into the path of Clements who had taken up residency in the six yard box, and he smashed it in on the swivel, much to the pleasure of the packed home end.

Little did Bircham’s men know that a complete implosion would be on its way.

Just over 100 seconds later, Clements got a touch of fortune to seal his second and send Ware in to the lead for the first time in the game. 

The striker cut in onto his left foot 8 yards out before hitting it into Kyle Connolly and subsequently wrong-footing Mark White who could only watch it roll past him.

In the blink of eye, Bedford were trailing, not a position many would have foreseen after Lobjoit put them two up just 40 minutes before hand.

Bedford probed for an equalliser, coming closest through Alex Collard, who had his header saved acrobatically by Fred Burbidge. Their efforts wouldn’t be enough and in fact Ware would emphatically hammer one final nail into Bedford’s coffin. 

Joe Dearman of Ware found himself isolated with the ball on the right flank during quick break for the home side who were hungry for more.

He glided elegantly past many a Bedford tackle before pulling it back across into the box. They were queuing up for it at the back post, but it was Theo Ofori who ultimately lashed to it in to cap off an dream second half comeback.

That loss leaves Bedford four games without a victory and four points behind Biggleswade Town who have a game in hand. They take on Thame United on Tuesday night in a must win game under the lights at the Eyrie.

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