Rampant Real rout Romania as league title looms large

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Real Bedford celebrate a goal against FC Romania at McMullen Park in April 2024
Real Bedford celebrate another goal Image: Will Roberts / Real Bedford

Real Bedford smashed six past third placed, FC Romania on Tuesday night in a scintillating attacking display to all but secure back-to-back league titles at McMullen Park.

Milton Keynes Irish’s 1-1 draw against Leverstock Green leaves Real eight points clear at the top of Spartans South Midlands Premier Division and although Irish have a game in hand, it is now going to need a miracle for Rob Sinclair’s men to lose the title from here.

Tuesday night’s encounter against Romania; a team who were unbeaten in the league since the turn of the year, was key for Real Bedford in their quest for a second successive promotion.

Romania’s last league loss came against Real on 16th December and it looked as if the game was going to become a tense and cagey affair after a first quarter with no real chances to speak of.

Joey Evans had the game’s first half chance as his ambitious strike from thirty yards drifted just wide, and shortly after, Real thought they should have had a penalty only for Archie Jones’ protestations to be waved away by the referee.

Romania had to wait until the 25-minute mark for their first opening; Gyawi-Kyeh’s volley crashing off the underside of Tyler McGregor’s crossbar with the rebound almost bouncing off the Real keeper and into the net.

Jones goal opens the floodgates

The game’s first goal came ten minutes before the interval, as a Real shot was well saved down to his left by Fijzo in the Romania goal, but the rebound fell to Archie Jones who lifted over the stranded keeper and into the net.

Romania almost hit back immediately, but Jesse Friend’s effort sailed over and he was made to pay as Ben Stevens’ excellent drilled cross found Jones at the back post to poke home a second.

Archie Jones and Drew Richardson celebrate a goal for Real Bedford
Jones and Drew Richardson celebrate Image: Will Roberts / Real Bedford FC

The first half ended in a flurry of chances for both teams, as Evans was denied a third by more excellent goalkeeping before Romania’s Jadin Da Cruz had a header cleared off the line at the other end.

The Real Bedford counter attack from that corner left Eddie Corbit on the end of a four vs one attack but his shot was sliced wide in a frenetic end to a half that had suddenly come to life after a dour first twenty minutes.

Cue the second half whistle, and Real Bedford’s change in gear.

Mere minutes into the second period, Josh Setchell’s cross was ballooned into the air into the path of the onrushing Brett Longden who smashed home a third into the roof of the net; an excellent goal only matched by the left back’s wild celebrations.

Real Bedford's Brett Longden celebrates a goal against FC Romania at McMullen Park
Brett Longden’s spectacular celebration matched his goal Image: Will Roberts / Real Bedford FC

By the hour mark, the scoreline read 5-0 as first, a defence splitting pass found Ben Stevens through on goal, and he rounded the keeper to score before Evans nodded home from a Setchell cross to rub salt in Romanian wounds.

Two minutes later, it was six as Evans was again on the scoresheet to secure a brace of his own with a smart finish into the bottom corner and at this stage, Bedford fans were speculating about double digits.

As it was, Rob Sinclair had the luxury to make some changes and Real Bedford mercifully took their foot off the accelerator pedal but it mattered not as they ran out 6-0 winners against a demoralised FC Romania side, who still remain in a play off spot.

Ruthless Real

A third of the way through this game, you would have got astronomical odds on it finishing 6-0.

Both sides were struggling to make chances, with Real especially unable to break through a sizable and strong Romania defence and it looked to be turning into a game where one goal would win it.

It then exploded into life, and had Gyawi-Kyeh’s first half strike for Romania been an inch lower, this clash would have taken on an entirely different complexion.

Instead, Rob Sinclair’s team took full advantage and while you could argue Romania capitulated, the plaudits should go to an attacking force that have proved to be unstoppable at times this season.

Real Bedford’s 114 league goals is testament to that, and now with an eight point advantage, we could see the Spartans South Midlands Premier Division title lifted at McMullen Park on Saturday.

MK Irish will have to drop more points in their game in hand at Arlesey Town on Thursday night for that to happen, but there is now a fervent belief around McMullen Park that a spot in next season’s Southern League setup is just a whisker away.