Tarrant’s first National League goal secures Chelmsford victory
Bedford picked up their fourth win of the season, a vital 2-1 away success against spirited bottom side Chelmsford, which moves BHC back up to 6th place in the Investec East Conference.
Bedford added striker Zoe Burford back into their squad ahead of what the team knew would be an important match on a sunny Essex afternoon. Despite Chelmsford’s perilous position, winless at the bottom of the league, it proved a tough afternoon, even though Bedford bossed the early exchanges and took an early lead courtesy of a Kate Costin deflection on an Emma Pinny reverse stick shot in just the second minute. (NB- Assist of the assist Maclaren, Noble with the pass to Maclaren)
Bedford pressed the Chelmsford defence and threatened further goals with Becca Budd putting in a dangerous cross against her former club and Rachel Jackson thwarted by the goalkeeper. As the half wore on, Chelmsford’s direct game began to convert into set piece opportunities, with the Bedford short corner team having to react quickly to clear off goalkeeper Leanne Sargeant’s pads including one from Sam Turner off the line. Bedford were quick to react to any loose balls especially through midfielders Jenna Maclaren, Beth Noble and MOTM Emma Pinny, who was relentless, but they couldn’t create long spells of possession. As Bedford started to surrender the ball more and more cheaply, their control over the match went and the half time break was more than welcome.
The maroons started the second half well with Costin striking just past the post and Clare Bilham ready of pounce on Charlotte Holland’s cross after a wonderful base line run, but it was cut out just in the nick of time. Noble was then fouled after breaking into the circle and Chelmsford were on the back foot, however a yellow card to Maclaren made things a lot trickier. Elli Priston and Rachel Jackson had solid games once more at the back but, again, unforced errors in possession were all too frequent. Mid way through the half and what turned out to be the games vital play took place. A Bedford penalty corner was passed to Noble, then emphatically deflected high into the goal by Becky Tarrant for her first ever National League goal.
However, the game’s drama was just getting started. Chelmsford broke through on goal and, after Leanne Sargeant rushed out of her goal, the greens forward took a big tumble and the umpire awarded a penalty stroke despite Bedford’s protests that the goalkeeper took the ball cleanly. The flick snuck in and the score was pegged back to 2-1.
Chelmsford continued to battle hard and played with great spirit. Sargeant saved well with her feet whilst, at the other end, Zoe Burford was twice close to scoring from a cross into the circle. Another Noble corner evaded all the runners. Bedford through Bilham and Holyoak pressed to keep the ball away from the Bedford goal in the game’s final moments and the team held out for the win, albeit not their best performance. With Barnes and St Albans drawing, Bedford leapfrog both team into 6th place and next face a long away trip to Sevenoaks who sit in third place, 6 points behind leaders Hampstead and Westminster.