In a game which had everything from comeback goals to “questionable” refereeing, Bedford Town fans were treated to an extravaganza of floodlit football at The Eyrie on Friday night.
After drama in midweek saw the Eagles through in the FA Cup, the changes were rung by manager Gary Setchell but their opponents, Hertford Town came out of the traps flying.
Obinna Ogbonna opened the scoring after just four minutes for the visitors and nearly doubled their lead just minutes later as Bedford were hanging on.
Rene Howe, who scored a last-minute winner at Canvey Island in midweek, equalised on the half hour mark for the Eagles but Ogbonna restored Hertford’s lead shortly after in a frustrating period for Bedford.
Danny Setchell equalised for the Eagles five minutes into the second half with a deft shot before Connor Tomlinson gave Bedford a 3-2 lead that they held on to, despite a chaotic last ten minutes.
Dan Walker – arguably Bedford Town’s standout player so far this season – was the first to see red, with manager Gary Setchell claiming, “I thought he’d got the wrong colour card out”, in the first controversial moment at the death.
The second came ten minutes later, with striker Rene Howe capping off a marvellous week with two quickfire yellow cards to follow Walker down the tunnel, leaving a sour taste on what was otherwise a successful evening.
“We’ve got to credit the opposition with the way they moved the ball in the first half”, said Setchell, speaking after the game.
“Hertford, in the first half, were the best team we’ve played this season and we weren’t quite at it but unfortunately, the main talking point was the man in the middle.”
The two late red cards leaves Bedford Town without two key attacking options for the next game against 3rd placed Ware FC on Tuesday night.
Elsewhere in the division, Kempston Hammers continued their rough start with a 4-1 defeat at AFC Dunstable; Charlie Hayford scoring what turned out to be a consolation goal as the Walnuts remain 17th with one win in their opening five games.