A real damp squib on Guy Fawkes weekend.
It says a lot that we managed two more goals and a point from a tepid display. With Bitz out for the rest of the season, we were missing our other playmaker due to a weekend away - admittedly booked off and advised to the gaffer months ago - and our combative midfielder and a promising new lad were both suspended. To compound matters, James went off injured very early on and his replacement had an anonymous game, as did a number of our players, and another young prospect who came in today was peripheral to the action but will hopefully grow into the role when given a chance later.
Bedford missed the opportunity to take an 18th minute lead when centre forward Bradley Woods-Garness made a complete dog's dinner of a penalty, hitting it wide of the post. We then received a penalty in first half stoppage time when Fish got a high boot to the face when stooping slightly to head the ball, and he calmly stroked the spot kick home to give us a completely undeserved lead.
We doubled our score in the 49th when Bedford's keeper, who flapped so much from set pieces I thought he wanted to fly, dropped a Fish corner and Will eventually scrambled it home. Any hopes of securing the win were quashed, though, when first David Manu and then James Peters were given complete freedom to head home in the 55th and 76th minutes. For a while Bedford sensed the win, but we woke up near the end and had out best spell in the last 15 minutes, almost getting the winner on a couple of occasions.
The draw was about right but the manner we managed it wasn't pretty. We certainly weren't helped, though, by our opponents or the ref and the lino on the Tangerine Terrace side. For a well known traditional non-League side, Bedford were horrible to watch. They committed loads of fouls and fell over easily when challenged. They also had two players booked for dissent and kicked at least seven balls out of the ground, all of which contributed to a game we wanted to finish early ending at five past five. The ref was shocking. Penalty apart, he gave Bedford the benefit virtually every time in the first hour, letting some 'old pro' fouls go unnoticed and giving them some very easily won free kicks. It was ironic that the one occasion an away player went down and got the bird he really was injured. I'm also not sure what the lino on my side of the pitch actually did to earn his money.
With something resembling a full squad and more competent officials we would have done better. As it is, we've beaten some much more attractive sides this season. There was really only one player I felt deserved man of the match and that was Max, who was tenacious, got stuck in and encouraged / laid into his colleagues as appropriate several times. Possible captain material on this showing.