Real Bedford celebrated a record crowd at their home ground, McMullen Park on Saturday with a 2-0 win against Stansted in the Spartans South Midlands Premier Division.
Rob Sinclair’s side have been in free scoring form in the past fortnight, scoring five at Biggleswade United and eight in their last home game against Colney Heath, but they didn’t have it all their own way on Saturday against a spirited Stansted side.
The 471 people in attendance, many of them youngsters, celebrated Real’s fourth consecutive league win as goals from Ben Stevens and Matt Clifford secured victory.
Real break down stern Stansted defence
In the ninth tier of English football, we are of course not blessed with possession stats, but if we were, Real would probably have boasted around 80% of the ball in the first half as the visitors set up to frustrate the Pirates.
Despite that, it was the side from the capital who created the game’s first true chance; a long throw causing problems for the Real defence before a shot was headed off the line by an orange shirt.
From there though, Real set about trying to break down the wall of blue shirts in front of them and it wasn’t until the half an hour mark that they were able to do so.
A lucky break on the left hand side of the Stansted area broke to Ben Stevens, who didn’t need a second invitation to curl a beauty into the top corner.
Ten minutes later, Stevens could have had two only for a wonderful save from Turner in the Stansted goal before another shot across the face of goal went wide.
The ‘Airport Army’ should have gone into the break on level terms; Davidson’s pinpoint cross landing perfectly on the head of the Stansted striker, only for Piggott to miss the ball entirely.
Despite dominating possession, there were a few scares for Real and another guilt-edged chance for the visitors at the beginning of the second half crashed against Tyler McGregor’s far post in another reminder that this game was not over.
A couple more half chances came and went for the Pirates, before the game was put to bed with fifteen minutes remaining thanks to Matt Clifford.
A long throw, a weapon both sides used to good effect throughout the ninety minutes, left Stansted scrambling to clear but the ball eventually found it’s way to Clifford who smashed home at the second time of asking despite a strong hand from Turner.
The second goal knocked the wind out of Stansted sails, for they had battled long and hard to remain in the game but in the end, the Real quality shone through and the final 2-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of an attritional game.
The Pirates remain in second place, five points behind St Panteilemon although the league leaders have played four games more.