Late Jones strike ruled out for Real as title rivals play out stalemate

Real Bedford's Josh Setchell against an MK Irish defender
Image: Real Bedford FC / 'X'

A late Archie Jones goal for Real Bedford was ruled out in controversial fashion in the final minute as the two runaway leaders in Spartans South Midlands Premier Division played out a goalless draw in Milton Keynes.

The title chase is in the hands of Milton Keynes Irish who sit four points behind Rob Sinclair’s Real Bedford, but have a critical three games in hand over the Pirates.

Real may rue the dropped points in recent weeks – they dropped two more in midweek at 14th-placed Dunstable Town – as the Irish peak at the right time.

Real Bedford’s 2-2 draw on Tuesday night was not enough to open up a six-point gap over MK Irish as Joe Reynolds’ late equaliser for Town condemned Real to another draw.

Joey Evans and a first ever goal in Real colours for Eddie Corbit had twice put Real ahead, but Reynolds’ goal after 87 minutes added just one point to the Real tally.

Title six-pointer

MK Irish are by the far the division’s form team, they have scored five goals in three of their last four games, (and hit six in the other), as the Buckinghamshire strikers have honed their radars.

They couldn’t find a way past Tyler McGregor on Saturday afternoon however as both Irish and Real Bedford drew a blank.

Ben Stevens in action for Real Bedford at McMullen Park
Ben Stevens takes on a defender Image: Real Bedford FC

Both sides had their chances; Ben Stevens had a chance cleared off the line after half an hour and the Irish keeper pulled off a smart double save, first from Evans and then Stevens to keep his own clean sheet.

Irish’s only efforts from goal were from distance; a shot was pulled wide of McGregor’s left hand post before a free kick narrowly flew past the near post.

The game’s most controversial moment came in the final moments as Real thought they had stolen all three points only for Archie Jones’ strike to be ruled out by an offside flag.

Jones smuggled home from six yards out but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman, with Jones then immediately sin-binned for his protestations.

The final result remained 0-0 and the four point difference remains, with Real Bedford facing another tricky fixture against Leverstock Green at McMullen Park next Saturday.

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