The first half was a tale of two penalties, one given and one denied but after the break Bedford Town took control of the game and scored twice more. A late consolation four minutes from the end by Dave Pearson added to a Nigel Julien strike four minutes from the start to give the scoreline some respectability but on the night the visitors did not do enough to take the points.
As early as the fourth minute, Barwell took the lead as Nigel Julien latched onto a loose ball on the left just outside the area. As he pulled the trigger, the ball sped into the left side of the goal, beating keeper Ian Brown for speed and giving the visiting fans a much welcome boost.
Bedford responded immediately as the dangerous Graham Clark drove up the right flank and crossed for Drew Roberts who was unable to connect.
Following a speculative ball forward which Liam Castle
headed towards the touchline, Manny Richardson lobbed goalwards but when the move broke down referee Mr Forrester pulled the play back for a foul on Josh Beech. The direct free kick was fired venomously into the wall and Scott Hadland
was adjudged to have handled although he was unable to move out of the way. The resulting penalty was despatched by Drew Roberts sending Liam Castle
the wrong way on 11 minutes.
A minute later Clark was able to cross for Callum Lewis to head but he misdirected the attempt past the left post.
After 16 minutes, Liam Castle
was called on to make an interception at the edge of his area. He gathered and swivelled and fortunately Mr. Forrester adjudged him to have remained in the box.
After 20 minutes the ball was played forward for Roberts but Castle arrived first and had to dribble the ball skilfully past the Bedford attacker.
A minute later Clark again crossed dangerously from the byeline. Castle came close to it but as was unable to gather. On this occasion, the ball went out for a goal kick.
Following excellent combination play by Nigel Julien and Kev Charley, Scott Rickard drove goalwards but had his feet taken from him. The ensuing free kick found Guy Sanders
. His header was deflected out for a corner which was defended out to half way, much to the disappointment of the expectant Canary fans.
After 24 minutes, James Faulkner had a chance to open his account for Bedford from the edge of the box. He shot but the ball ended a foot wide of Liam Castle
’s right post.
Following an incident involving Nigel Julien, Graham Clark and a disputed throw in, the Barwell forward made a rash challenge on the Bedford winger and incurred the wrath of the referee to become the first player to receive a yellow card on 26 minutes.
As the game approached the half hour mark, Luke Barlone
had a flash shot with his left foot from the edge of the box. It was well saved by Ian Brown in the Bedford goal and the ball rebounded to Kev Charley who tried to send in the deflection. The ball appeared to hit a defensive hand but the referee indicated a head rather than an illegal appendage and the move broke down.
Barwell pushed forward on 32 minutes as Luke Barlone
and Jamie Towers both bore down on the Bedford keeper but the home defence held firm and the ball was eventually defended away.
A minute later, Barlone put in a late tackle on Richardson and was lucky to escape with just a stern warning from Mr. Forrester.
After 39 minutes, a ball pumped deep into the Barwell box saw Liam Castle
jump and miss the catch. Josh Beech ran to gather and Castle recovered brilliantly to gather the ball at the feet of the oncoming opponent. There was a mass of legs and arms which prompted a penalty appeal but Mr. Forrester was not convinced and no spot kick was awarded.
Bedford should have scored on 40 minutes as good work from Gareth Price down the right led to a ball being crossed across the Barwell two yard line. Callum Lewis stretched for the ball but could not make sufficient contact and toe ended the ball over the bar from close range.
The pressure continued and Lewis himself drove for goal. However, Castle was equal to the attack and cleared his lines under pressure once again.
Three minutes later and another ball from the right, this time from Roberts almost found James Faulkner who blasted over from six yards.
Two further minutes passed as Bedford continued to pressurise but this time as the ball came in from the right, Faulkner supplied a header from the back post with no oncoming forwards to complete the move.
As the game approached half time, Luke Barlone
rifled in a shot from the left side edge of the penalty area. It hit a defensive hand but on this occasion, the referee chose to believe that the ball hit an unwilling hand and no spot kick was awarded. In order to dispel the protests, the referee blew for half time.
was kept very busy in the first few minutes of the second half saving from Gareth Price and James Faulkner and then from a corner from Mark Ducket.
Jamie Towers and Luke Barlone
combined on 51 minutes on a rare attack from the Canaries but Graham Clark was equal to it and brought the ball away.
Following a late tackle on Drew Roberts on 52 minutes, Scott Hadland
became the second Barwell player to receive a yellow card.
From the free kick, Roberts sent the ball onto the penalty spot where Faulkner was able to attempt an acrobatic strike which was well gathered by Castle.
As the game approached the hour, Faulkner skipped through the visiting defence and shot but the ball ended a yard past the right post.
The deadlock was eventually broken on 66 minutes following a rare defensive slip by Guy Sanders
, who lost his footing, presenting a golden opportunity to James Faulkner who shot from the edge of the box placing the ball neatly to the right of Liam Castle
and into the bottom corner of the net.
Castle was again called into action on 68 minutes as Gareth Price latched onto a cross from the right and headed goalwards. The keeper was agile enough to pounce on the ball and divert it away.
Five minutes later, Roberts again had a strike well saved by Castle as he dived well at his left post to turn the ball around and into touch.
Bedford went further ahead in the 79th minute as the Barwell defence were again shaken. Roberts caught them napping and unchallenged shot neatly into Liam Castle
’s goal past the diving keeper from eight yards.
After 84 minutes, Barwell could have gone further behind as Price supplied Gavin Hoyte from a corner as he rose and glanced the ball just the wrong side of the post.
After 86 minutes, with the game won, Bedford relaxed and allowed a late surge from the visitors. Scott Rickards
did excellent work to draw the defence towards him, creating space for Dave Pearson who gathered the pass and took the ball into the box. He placed it neatly to the right of the keeper and into the bottom right of the net. A late consolation gave the scoreline a respectable feel but the Canaries were second best for much of the second half.
A late period of pressure from Bedford resulted in no further goals but in a bizarre incident, Chris Hollist
received a yellow card without conceding a free kick on 88 minutes.
The referee still had time as the game went into stoppage time to book Luke Barlone
as he was outpaced by Manny Richardson and pulled him back by his shirt.
There can be no complaints about the result but the visitors can look forward to better performances and better results in the coming months.
was by far the busier of the two keepers as the home side piled on the pressure. He performed with skill and confidence but could do nothing to alter the result of the game.
was resilient in his performance and worked hard under pressure against a quality attack. He was awarded the Man of the Match.
Team: Liam Castle
, Scott Lower
, Lewis Dodd
, Guy Sanders
, Thomas Guiney (Chris Hollist
71), Scott Rickards
, Jamie Towers, Scott Hadland
59), Luke Barlone
, Kev Charley (Dave Pearson 71), Nigel Julien.
Subs not used: Adam Wykes
, Louis Hamilton
Goals: Julien 4, Pearson 86
Yellow Cards: Julien 26, Hadland 52, Hollist 88, Barlone 90 + 1
Man of the Match: Lewis Dodd