The red mist descends as Bedford Town fall from the top of the tree

Image: Rene Howe against Waltham Abbey (Credit: BTFC)

Bedford Town enjoyed what was a brief stay at the top of Southern League Central Division One before two disappointing results have left them leapfrogged at the top.

Gary Setchell’s side would have had confidence restored following a late win at Harlow Town, as they hosted Waltham Abbey at The Eyrie on Saturday afternoon.

The game seemed to be going to the form book as the Eagles went into the half-time interval two goals to the good.

Danny Setchell opened the scoring after just five minutes with a stunning strike from thirty yards out, before Drew Richardson doubled the lead just before half-time.

Danny’s Dad, Gary, doesn’t seem the type to allow complacency to seep into his team, however events quickly went south as Billy Holland got a goal back for Waltham.

With a slim 2-1 lead to defend, Callum Donnelly was then shown a straight red card for Bedford Town, and went on to concede an equaliser five minutes later courtesy of Nathaniel Orafu.

Abbey’s Kyle Fraser-Allen was also shown red for the visitors, and stopped them in their tracks with the game ending ten-a-side and two goals apiece.

Dropping two points from a winning position was bad enough, but Bedford Town have now lost Danny Setchell for a “considerable amount of time” as the midfielder suffered a broken ankle late on.

Arguably the bigger of the two fixtures came with a trip to Hertfordshire for a rearranged fixture against Berkhamsted; the original game being postponed due to the fuel shortage in September.

Read: Fuel ‘shortage’ to blame as Bedford Town’s Tuesday night fixture postponed 

Berkhamsted had got the better of Bedford in the last three fixtures, and were favourites to grab the league title before the pandemic took hold last season.

Despite a frantic first ten minutes, in which Bedford Town missed two chances and Berkhamsted blazed a penalty over the bar, the rest of the first half turned into a cagey affair.

However, Cheyce Grant’s header put the hosts in front; Bedford goalkeeper Alex Street only able to tip it on to the crossbar before the ball bounced down over the line.

That solitary goal gave Berkhamsted a 1-0 win and typified a close, well-fought affair between two sides who will surely be challenging for the league title at the end of April.

Gary Setchell will hope his side can return to winning ways as they visit 13th placed Didcot Town at the weekend, before hosting Banbury United in the Southern League Challenge Cup.

Elsewhere, Kempston Rovers’ Charlie Hayford was on the scoresheet as they carried out a favour for their Bedford neighbours by holding 3rd placed North Leigh to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

The Walnuts now occupy 16th place in Southern League Central Division One and host FC Romania at Hillgrounds on Saturday.

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