Title hopes take hit as ten-man Bedford Town lose at home

Bedford Town attacker in action at The Eyrie against Hadley in March 2022
Image credit: Adrian Brown / Bedford Town FC

Bedford Town have surrendered the lead at the top of Southern League Central Division One after succumbing to a 3-0 home loss to play-off chasing, AFC Dunstable on Tuesday night.

Two goals either side of half-time from Ben Weyman and Rocko Tamplin – after Jack Green had been sent off for the home team – gave the South Bedfordshire side a valuable lead at the interval and when Arnold Matshazi added a third, it was game over for the Eagles.

Bedford Town’s good form has been hampered by pitch problems at The Eyrie, and coupled with the region’s higher than usual rainfall over the past six weeks, Lee Bircham and his men have been unable to gain any momentum.

AFC Dunstable are a good side chasing promotion themselves, but playing the majority of the game with ten men proved pivotal for Town.

Jack Green was sent off after 37 minutes after a foul on Dunstable’s Callum Nicolson was adjudged to be worthy of a red card from the referee and five minutes later, Dunstable were ahead as Weyman smashed home after Arnold Matshazi’s shot was saved.

Half-time provided an opportunity for the Eagles to regroup, but Dunstable came flying out of the traps in the second half, and when Rocko Tamplin fired home after two Dunstable shots were cleared off the line, they lead 2-0.

When Matshazi finally got on the scoresheet himself after 70 minutes, the game was done and dusted and with Biggleswade Town beating their near rivals, Biggleswade 2-0, they now lead the division by two points and also have a game in hand.

The Eagles will hope to return to winning ways as part of Non-League Day on Saturday as they face another tricky fixture at Ware.

Kempston great escape still on despite defeat

A short way up the road, Kempston Rovers have been embarking on a story of their own.

Four wins, a draw and a defeat from their last six games have propelled Kempston back towards the rest of the pack, but were not able to increase on that on Tuesday night as they fell 4-2 at Welwyn Garden City.

Rovers were always chasing the game after going a goal behind after 23 minutes and despite Samuel Ezenwaka’s second half double, Richard Keil’s side were always behind the eight ball.

Their impressive results in recent times have seen them leapfrog Thame United at the bottom of the division, and there’s great confidence in the Hillgrounds camp that they can indeed pull off the Great Escape and they have a good chance to continue their recovery at Kidlington on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Real Bedford were in Spartans Premier Division Cup action at Shefford Town and Campton and progressed on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Tom Hitchcock’s first half goal was cancelled out late on in the second, but Eddie Corbit smashed home the decisive penalty to see Real through to the next round, with Real Bedford returning to league action at McMullen Park on Saturday.

Keep Local news Alive in Bedfordshire