Real Bedford sides take one step closer to historic league double

Charlie Smith for Real Bedford at McMullen Park
Image: Real Bedford / 'X'

Real Bedford Men won again on Saturday afternoon to gain three more points and take one further step towards the Spartans South Midlands Premier Division title after a comfortable 4-0 win against struggling Shefford Town and Campton.

A brace apiece from Joey Evans and Josh Setchell increased hopes of back-to-back league titles at McMullen Park, while the Ladies side kept their 100% league record alive thanks to a convincing victory against Wroxham on Sunday.

The context of the South Midlands Premier Division changed late in the week, as St Panteleimon unfortunately dropped out with immediate effect, leaving all of their results null and void.

Before their announcement, chasing Milton Keynes Irish were eight points behind with three games in hand, but this changed to six points with only two games in hand in the blink of an eye, handing back the initiative to Real.

Evans goes past forty in first half flash

Few were expecting much of a challenge from Shefford Town and Campton, who sit second bottom of the now 19-team division, and so it told as the Pirates set about taking the lead.

Archie Jones, who caused all sorts of problems for the Campton defence, was felled in the area after a quarter of an hour, and when Joey Evans sent the goalkeeper the wrong way, the writing was on the wall.

From the next attack, it was Jones again who caused issues and while his shot was saved, the rebound fell to Evans to bundle home for the 40th goal of what has been an excellent campaign for the Real striker.

Shefford didn’t go without their chances; McGregor had to be on hand to turn a snap shot round his near post before pulling off an excellent one handed save late on in the first half to preserve Real’s two-goal advantage at the break.

Setchell class seals game

The second half took a similar pattern to the first as Real set about killing the game off, and although chances came and went for Evans and Ben Stevens, Josh Setchell was on hand with a moment of magic to seal the tie.

The right winger took the ball just inside the Shefford half and he set about the left-back with devastating pace before gaining a yard and smashing the ball home in the far corner to put Bedford three up.

Josh Setchell celebrates Real's third goal against Shefford at McMullen Park in March 2024
Josh Setchell celebrates Real’s third goal Image: Real Bedford FC

A repeat from Setchell via the goalkeeper and the far post sealed an emphatic 4-0 win for Real Bedford as they remain six points clear of Irish, who beat Dunstable Town 3-1 away from home.

Real return to the league cup next Saturday, in a semi-final against Tring, and by the time they step on to the McMullen Park pitch in league action against FC Romania, their gap at the top may only be three points.

Their fifteen goal advantage in goal difference – Real have now scored 108 league goals this season – may still be key as this title race is destined to go down to the final day.

Real Ladies maintain perfect record

The top of the Eastern Region Women’s League is not as close, as Real Bedford Ladies continue their march towards the title with another convincing victory against Wroxham.

Their impressive cup runs earlier in the season leave Georgia Clarke’s team with three games more to play than their closest challengers, Haringey Borough but they are now seven points clear at the top.

Francesca Partridge opened the scoring after 12 minutes with her 17th league goal of the campaign, but Wroxham hit back almost immediately to equalise.

Real Bedford Ladies celebrate another goal against Wroxham in April 2024
Real Bedford Ladies celebrate another goal Image: Real Bedford FC

Real took the lead again on the half hour mark thanks to Zara Carroll’s header from a Milliken corner and when Real’s top scorer, Natasha Fensome made it three moments later with her 29th league goal of the season, it seemed a long way back for the visitors.

Geordie Giddings made it four in the early stages of the second half having only just come on as a substitute, and with the game finishing 4-1, it was job done for the Pirates.

Real will play Wroxham again, in the League Cup final in Newmarket on Sunday 19th May, but they face seven league games before then in a bid to make history and complete their perfect season.

You can buy tickets for every game of the run in at McMullen Park here.

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