Four goals in a rampant second half in Hertfordshire helped Real Bedford to a 5-0 away win in Harpenden on Saturday, taking Rob Sinclair’s side eight points clear at the top of Spartans South Midlands Premier Division.
While it’s true that Milton Keynes Irish have two games in hand in second place, Sinclair will be happy he has the points on the board for Real heading into what is traditionally frozen pitch season in the world of non-league football.
Ben Stevens drew level with his counterpart Joey Evans on 23 goals for the season as he gave Real a 4th minute lead early on at Rothamstead Park and that is how the scoreline remained at half-time.
This was despite Luke Knight feeling the wrath of the non-league trial on sin bins, as he was dismissed for ten minutes at the end of the first half.
The hosts were in the game as late as the 74th minute, before former Harpenden winger, Josh Setchell scored a quickfire double to kill the game and secure another three points for the Pirates.
From there, the hosts lost all fight and Stevens added his second, (going ahead of Evans in the goal scoring charts), before Tom Wood made it five late on as Real Bedford secured another comfortable victory, their 16th in 18 league games.
Ladies on cloud nine
Real Bedford Ladies are nine points clear at the top of the Eastern Region Women’s League after a chaotic 9-3 away win against Barking on Sunday afternoon.
Under the tutorship of interim manager, Georgia Clarke, Real set about the Barking goal from the off and took the lead after just two minutes courtesy of a Chloe Martin strike; the first of her four goals.
Barking hit back almost immediately but Natasha Fensome restored the Pirates lead but the hosts replied once more, making the score 2-2 after just twenty minutes.
Ten minutes later, the scoreline was 4-2 to Real as Chloe Martin completed her hat trick with two more stellar goals, but Barking were not going away as they scored with ten minutes to go before half time.
Natasha Fensome restored the two-goal advantage moments later and when the referee blew for half-time, the scoreline stood at Barking 3-5 Real Bedford in one of the season’s more entertaining affairs.
As per the men however, Real Bedford pulled clear in the second half with four goals of their own; a fourth for Martin in a player-of-the-match performance, along with a second for Fensome with Gemma Croucher and substitute, Lauren Coppin also getting in on the act.
The 9-3 victory continues Real’s 100% league record with ten wins out of ten and nine points clear of second placed, Wroxham.
There’s a Dunstable double header next weekend as the Ladies are back in league cup action against AFC Dunstable next Sunday, while the men also travel to the south of the county to face Dunstable Town.