Wombles hit Bedford for 7
By Kate Costin
Bedford slumped to their biggest defeat of the season as a ruthless Wimbledon side won 7-1 in torrid conditions at Chester Road.
The maroons were without the services of 16-year-old England junior international Maddie Axford whilst Alex Drummond took on stand in coach duties with Martin Mason-McLeod unavailable. Charlotte Holland was back in the Bedford squad which was otherwise unchanged for the visit of last seasons runners up Wimbledon, whose squad contained Rio Gold medal winner Crista Cullen and Scottish international Nikki Alexander-Lloyd.
Bedford started the game well and their press forced a few errors from the wombles defence with Beth Noble and Jenna Maclaren spraying some lovely passes around. Bedford’s tackles were confident and well timed with captain Elli Priston setting a good early tone whilst Sam Turner and SJ Darrington found space to exploit.
Wimbledon grew into the game and were ruthless in the circle throughout taking the lead in the 9th minute and doubling it again in open play 8 minutes later. Bedford did quite a good job containing their opponents in the first half and Kate Costin had a great chance to pull a goal back shortly before half time but after winning the ball off Cullen she flashed her shot narrowly wide, so it was 2-0 to the visitors at the break.
As the game restarted for the second half, the heavens opened and within a few minutes the pitch was flooded and the was ball holding up making conditions for both sides nigh on impossible. Wimbledon quickly struck a third but then a head injury to Jenna Maclaren saw the officials call the players off with the pitch now waterlogged. After 15 minutes or so the game restarted, and Bedford clearly faced an uphill battle however 17-year-old Megan Claggett was a definite bright spark for the home side and picked up the man of the match votes for her calmness and composure on the ball. Bedford kept battling but conceded a 5th and 6th with Libby Sherriff completing her hattrick.
Leanne Sargeant in the Bedford goal pulled off a couple of world class saves and from penalty corners, Bedford defended the Crista Cullen drag flick threat well with Emma Pinny running down her shots and the post players stepping up well. Rebecca Budd added her usual experience to proceedings.
With two Wombles players separately green carded Bedford started to see more opportunities going forward with Higginson, Holland and Holyoak trying to muster opportunities on the counter attack. In the 59th minute Bedford got a small reward for their collective effort and it was Emma Baxter who was the provider as she twisted and turned fantastically in the Wimbledon circle and created a bit of space for a lifted shot which found its way to Costin who half volleyed it home.
Bedford conceded two further goals in the final minutes which gave the score line a slightly flattering edge for Wimbledon but Bedford will have chance to bounce back in style when they travel to Southgate next Saturday.