Horsham second half fight back leaves Bedford searching for first win
By Kate Costin
After two matches of the new Investec East Conference season, Bedford are still searching for their illusive first victory as Horsham came back from 1-0 down to inflict a 3-1 away defeat on the maroons.
Bedford coach Martin Mason-McLeod named a squad of 15 players for the trip to newly promoted Horsham with 15-year-old Maddie Axford making her National League debut with fellow academy product Megan Claggett re-joining the group. Despite miserable conditions and constant driving rain, Bedford made a bright start and put their opponents under the pump early on with a high aggressive press resulting in plenty of midfield turnovers. Bedford were controlling the possession with midfielders Emma Baxter, Becca Budd and Emma Pinny switching the play at ease whilst Axford went close on her back hand before setting up strike partner Kate Costin for a near post deflection which confirmed Bedford’s dominance in the 9th minute.
Beth Noble, Jenna Maclaren and SJ Darrington had lots of space to exploit and were good threats going forward; some of Bedford’s interplay was indeed very sharp and slick. Horsham for their part, didn’t trouble Leanne Sargeant in the Bedford goal until just Bedford half time which a turnover saw a Horsham forward 1 on 1 and despite rounding the keeper and sending the ball goalward, BHC captain Elli Priston came back bravely to miraculously clear the ball off the line to keep the 1-0 lead in tact at the break.
Into the second half and the game became much tighter with Horsham defending strongly and playing with a higher intensity. After forcing a turnover, Horsham counter attacked and struck level then moments later took the lead with a penalty corner routine. Bedford were now chasing the game with Charlotte Holland and Sam Turner trying to find holes in the Horsham back line. Pinny and Maclaren both had shots well saved and Bedford tried to make amends, but it was instead Horsham who won another corner and slipped it left for a flicked finish. Bedford re-introduced Claire Higginson and Steph Holyoak and moved to a front 3 but for all the effort the maroons couldn’t make it count in front of goal.
Next up Bedford will host Cambridge City on Saturday 13th October with a 1-30 push back at Chester Road.