Hampstead take the points in first game of 2018
Investec East Conference leaders Hampstead and Westminster showed their title credentials and maintained their 100% record as visitors Bedford went down 4-0 at Paddington Rec.
Bedford were without midfield duo of Becky Tarrant and Charlotte Holland so drew on the experience of Sherri Fensom. Hampstead were on the front foot from the first whistle with their half backs forcing the Bedford front line back into their own 25 however with space tight the leaders found it tricky to carve out chances in open play. Bedford had space and pace on the counter attack with Emma Pinny supporting the front two and Bedford earned the games opening corner which Rachel Jackson cracked at the Hampstead keeper.
From then on it was pretty much one-way traffic but Bedford battled hard to be hard to beat and it was only two emphatically taken first half penalty strokes that breached Leanne Sargeant’s defences. Bedford’s corner defence was tight with Sam Skelton and Jenna Maclaren both doing a great job on the posts and Sargeant repelling shots from the top of the circle.
Elli Priston and Jenna Maclaren were joint man of the match with both players making some excellent tackles and personifying Bedford’s endeavours but in possession the maroons were finding it tricky to build attacks and too many turnovers increased pressure.
In the second half, Bedford continued to keep their organisation and nearly got back in the game when a sneaky turn and shot from Becca Budd came back off the post and Clare Bilham couldn’t quite reach the rebound. SJ Darrington was enjoying a strong game down the right but she and the rest of the Bedford defence were hapless to stop Joyce Esser’s thunderbolt of a reverse stick shot which sewed up her hattrick.
Towards the end of the game and with the rain falling, there were two more moments of note. Pinny was thwarted by the Hampstead keeper before Lauren Turner made the final score 4-0 despite protests of a foot in the build-up. Next up Bedford host St Albans, the first of 3 key matches which will go a long way in deciding Bedford’s survival in National League. Push Back at Chester Road 2-30pm
Penalty Stroke for 2-0 https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/957251188751249408
Photo credit Mark Clews