Real Bedford crash out of the FA Cup in seven goal thriller

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Joey Evans taking a penalty vs MK Irish in the FA Cup in Aug 2023
Joey Evans gave Real Bedford hope with a penalty in the first half Image: Real Bedford

Real Bedford’s journey in the FA Cup this season is over after a dramatic tie at McMullen Park that saw Milton Keynes Irish exact revenge for their league loss at the start of August.

Rob Sinclair’s side found themselves two goals behind on two separate occasions, but a late penalty miss meant they couldn’t find parity, losing 4-3 in the Preliminary Round tie.

Real had looked in fine form in midweek, despatching FC Clacton with ease in the Extra Preliminary Round replay on Tuesday night but they were consistently chasing the game on Saturday afternoon as Irish progressed.

Read: Clinical Real Bedford coast past Clacton to progress in FA Cup

George Shrieves gave Irish an early lead after six minutes after he latched on to the end of an Andre Olukanmi cross and after half an hour, the road for Real looked steep as MK doubled their lead.

Callum Hirst won the ball in midfield and played the ball through a static defence for Mason Spence who calmly slotted home.

First half fightback gives Real hope

At 2-0 down, Real had little choice but to attack and they were given a lifeline as Irish goalkeeper, Owusu Kyeremateng took out Ben Stevens before Joey Evans confidently stroked home the penalty to half the deficit.

Before half-time, it was level pegging as Stevens got on the scoresheet himself after a fluid move and Real went into the interval with momentum.

Image: Real Bedford FC

However, within ten minutes of the second half beginning, Irish had restored their two goal lead thanks to Mason Spence’s second of the game and a goal for Ryan Smith.

Ben Stevens gave Real hope late on with a spectacular strike and the home side were given a golden opportunity to steal a replay late on as Kyeremateng once again came storming out of his goal and conceded a second penalty in the closing moments.

This time however, Kyeremateng made amends as he saved the Real penalty to secure his side a dramatic 4-3 victory as Irish move on to the first qualifying round.

Elsewhere, a consolation goal for Samuel Ezemwaka wasn’t enough for Kempston Rovers as they fell 3-1 at home to Biggleswade FC, while Bedford’s FA Cup hopes now lie solely with Bedford Town who thrashed step five, Mulbarton Wanderers 5-1 in Norfolk.