Real Bedford close the gap on league leaders with win against Crawley Green

Image: Will Roberts / Real Bedford FC

Real Bedford kept up their fine league form with another convincing win, this time against Crawley Green and closed the gap on league leaders, St Panteleimon in the process.

It was technically an away fixture for Real, but due to ground availability, the game was switched to McMullen Park and Real took full advantage of the “home” crowd, winning 4-1.

With league leaders St Panteleimon not playing, the gap to the top is down to two points although perennial rivals, Milton Keynes Irish are second on goal difference and look to be Real’s main threat in this title race.

Stevens brace secures win

The in-form strike force of Ben Stevens and Joey Evans have not looked like slowing down in recent weeks, and it was the pair who scored three of the Pirates’ four goals on another comfortable afternoon for Rob Sinclair’s men.

It took the majority of the first half to find the breakthrough as Real struggled to break down a stubborn Crawley defence, but a deflected effort from Stevens opened the floodgates.

A 1-0 lead at half-time became two on the hour mark as midfield playmaker, Charlie Smith began an attack that included four other players before the ball found Joey Evans who slotted home for his 20th goal in as many games.

Charlie Smith has been excellent in midfield for Real this season Image: Will Roberts / Real Bedford FC

The second goal was the knockout blow for a lowly Crawley Green side who had come to keep Real out for as long as possible and the third goal came ten minutes later thanks to Ollie Swain – his first goal in Real Bedford colours.

Harry Peterson did get a goal back for Crawley thanks to some sloppy defending from Real but the three-goal cushion was soon restored thanks to Stevens’ second of the game, securing a 4-1 success.

The win leaves Real Bedford on 31 points alongside MK Irish and Leverstock Green in Spartans South Midlands Premier Division, although Leverstock have played three games more than Real and Irish.

St Panteleimon sit on 33 points but they too have played three more games than the second and third placed teams, meaning Irish and Real are – on paper – the two favourites.

The games keep coming for Real, as they visit Stansted on Tuesday night before hosting Arlesey Town on Saturday.

Ladies win again

Not to be outdone, the Ladies kept up their 100% record in the Eastern Region Women’s League on Sunday, beating fifth-placed Needham Market at McMullen Park.

Image: Real Bedford FC

Three goals in ten first half minutes wrapped up the game, with a brace from Natasha Fensome adding the second and third goals after Francesca Partridge opened the scoring.

Manager, Dean Perrett was understandably complimentary of his winning side.

“We had great determination and a winning mentality. We got the ball down on a slippy surface and used the ball really well.

“The second half was strange; we asked for more at half-time but Needham Market came out all guns blazing and shut us down a lot quicker, but we missed some chances second half which was quite frustrating.

“The people who know me know I don’t like losing half a game of football, let alone a full one!”

Real now have nine wins from nine league games this season and with Billericay Town to come in the first round of the FA Cup, the season looks to be shaping up into a successful one.