Lobjoit winner keeps Bedford Town in Southern League title race

Leon Lobjoit celebrates a goal at Biggleswade Town in the Southern League in April 2024
Leon Lobjoit celebrates the only goal of the game Image: Simon Gill

Leon Lobjoit’s 40th minute winner gave Bedford Town a monumental 1-0 away victory at league leaders Biggleswade Town on a tense Easter Monday, keeping the Eagles in the Southern League Central Division One title race.

Four losses in five league games have left Lee Bircham’s side chasing the tails of Biggleswade Town, but a day after the Bedford Town manager was granted a one-year extension to his contract, his side rewarded him with a key victory.

Read: Waltham Abbey steal late win against flailing Bedford Town

After Saturday’s dramatic late loss at home to Waltham Abbey, this game became must win and with Biggleswade Town’s fixture against Welwyn called off two days ago, the home side were undoubtedly the fresher of the two.

Bedford Town started well in what was a predictably cagey affair as a couple of headers sailed over in the opening stages with the home side restricted to a snap shot from Rohdell Gordon, who hit straight at Smith in the Eagles goal.

The key moment came five minutes before the break as a Kyle Connolly free kick found Carl Mensah at the back post, and the defender’s looping cross was met by Leon Lobjoit, who rose highest to nod home into the back of the net.

Leon Lobjoit rises highest to clinch what would become the winner Image: Simon Gill

As Lobjoit wheeled away to celebrate, leaving the men in green to protest with the referee, Bedford Town had a valuable lead to hold on to, and they did just that with great conviction.

The home side almost struck back straight away; a Harry Draper header hitting the Bedford crossbar before going over the top, but with no further goalmouth action to speak of, Bedford Town went in a goal up at the break.

Bodies on the line

The second forty five minutes felt like an eternity for the strong contingent of Eagles fans who made the short trip up the A1 as Biggleswade Town slowly but surely pressed for an equaliser.

Five minutes into the second half, a tasty looking cross was well defended by Bedford before chances for Draper and Brookes went begging as the league leaders searched for parity.

Bedford Town were not helped by an injury to goalscorer, Leon Lobjoit who went off on the hour mark to be replaced by Fernando Bell-Toxtle and the only chance the Eagles could muster came via a Waders defender who nearly turned a Dulson cross into his own net.

Leon Lobjoit celebrates Image: Simon Gill

Pauses in the game caused by cramp to Bedford legs did not help the tension, but Biggleswade chances were kept to a minimum; Adam Martin’s header kept out to keep the scoreline at 1-0.

Charlie Stallard, who had an excellent game, also went off injured and a bloody Carl Mensah was bandaged up late on but a resilient and brave Bedford Town side saw off any further late charges to secure a vital victory at Langford Road.

Waders still hold the keys

The top five in Southern League Central Division One are now separated by just three points, with Ware and Waltham Abbey both in fine form to keep the top three honest.

AFC Dunstable – who scored a 97th minute winner to condemn Kempston Rovers back to the foot of the table – are also dangerous as they leapfrog Biggleswade Town into second, but the Waders have two games in hand over Bedford Town, and three over Dunstable with just one point to make up.

For this ninety minutes however, Bedford Town showed they were willing to put it all on the line.

It was now or never time for Lee Bircham’s men, and despite blood and cramp after a gruelling 48 hours, they excelled to keep their hopes of bouncing straight back up to the seventh tier well and truly alive.

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