Bedford up and running at Ipswich
By Kate Costin
Bedford L1’s recorded their first win of the Investec East Conference season as a 52nd minute goal from Yvette Van Yperen secured a 1-0 victory against Ipswich.
Bedford went into the match level on points with their opponents at the foot of the table with both teams still to get off the mark in the league. Martin Mason-McLeod added World Cup winner Yvette Van Yperen and 15-year-old Ellie Scott to the squad for her national league debut as Beth Noble was unavailable. Bedford started the game on the front foot with their press causing the Ipswich defence various problems resulting in good spells of possession for the visitors. Maddie Axford forced a save from the Ipswich keeper with Kate Costin just unable to get a touch diving on the rebound whilst Emma Pinny hit a corner strike on target in the opening exchanges.
Ipswich looked to play long to their forwards and so Bedford’s back 3 had to be on their guard on a bouncy water-based pitch to make vital interceptions and did well stepping in front of their players. Led ably by captain Elli Priston; SJ Darrington and Jenna Maclaren all enjoyed fine games and Leanne Sargeant in the Bedford goal was relatively untroubled in the first half.
Towards half time, Bedford continued to be on top and enjoyed a lot of midfield possession through Charlotte Holland, Becca Budd and Sam Turner, working the ball into good spaces, but Ipswich were fighting hard and the game was highly competitive throughout.
After the break, Bedford continued to go in search of the games illusive goal. A couple of corners were won but Ipswich were resolute and cleared the ball meanwhile both teams found themselves down to 10 players at times with an Ipswich defender shown a yellow, whilst Maclaren and birthday girl Claire Higginson picked up greens as the intensity upped a further notch. This really demonstrated the competitiveness of the fixture as Bedford continued to outlet well finding Steph Holyoak and the other Bedford forwards in high spaces. The games highest quality moment proved decisive; Darrington found Pinny on the right and she played down the line for Costin whose touch lifted the ball over the Ipswich defender and into the path of Maddie Axford. Axford turned on the pace and beat her player on the outside before cutting towards the circle and finding a beautiful weighted pass into Van Yperen whose lifted first time finish gave the keeper no chance.
Sargeant was then called into action as Ipswich looked to convert a late penalty corner but she got down smartly to make a low save before Priston and Maclaren dealt with the rebounds and Bedford were able to see the game out with some late territory of their own. On Saturday, Bedford host St Albans as they look to make it back to back victories; push back is 1-30 at Chester Road.