Hadley Wood & Wingate 1 - 2 Bedford
By Andy Gerlis
Hadley Wood and Wingate’s first ever appearance in the Spartan South Midland League Challenge Trophy ended with a 1-2 loss at home to Bedford FC.
A drab first half gave way to a second that saw goals from Tarik Dallas and Aaron Jalvis put a dampener on a fine goalkeeping performance from Hadley Wood’s Ross Weinrabe.
Alfie Bartram managed to pull one back for the hosts but it proved too little, too late for a Wingate side looking for a first win in three games.
Captain Joe Sharpe was withdrawn through injury after just 12 minutes, pairing debutant midfielder Anthony Guppy with Christian Artimadis.
And just three minutes later Tommy Olumwense pounced on a loose backpass before forcing Weinrabe into the first of many spectacular saves.
At the other end Weinrabe’s opposite number Michael Hudson had to react smartly to tip Amon Walton-Owen’s skimming shot around the post, though these were to be the only tests for either goalkeeper in the first half.
Weinrabe was thrown straight into the mix following the restart however, keeping hold of Dallas’ close range header before parrying Olumwense’s one-on-one finesse shot away seconds later.
And Hadley Wood’s number one was on hand yet again to deny Jalvis and Tyrone Kelly in quick succession.
Bartram smashed a shot just past Hudson’s post on the hour mark but Bedford’s screw was beginning to tighten and the hosts found themselves behind a minute later.
Weinrabe did well once again to Parry Jalvis’ shot, but could only watch as Dallas tapped the loose ball into an empty net and put the visitors 0-1 up.
When it rains, however, it pours, and Jalvis was able to double Bedford’s lead five minutes later by finding himself just inside the box with all the time in the world and chipping the ball over Weinrabe.
Walton-Owen managed to toe-poke Bartram’s cross inches wide of the Bedford net, before Weinrabe bailed out his defence for the umpteenth time by coming off his line to deny Dallas as the striker raced through on goal.
Bartram pulled a goal back for Hadley Wood, rising at the back post to head Walton-Owen’s cross past Hudson, but Weirnabe had to be alert yet again to block a close-range Dallas shot with his legs seconds after.
It’s unusual for the standout performer in a game of football to be the goalkeeper on the losing side, but were it not for Weinrabe’s heroics the scoreline could have been must worse.
The result was a promising performance from a young Hadley Wood side and the green shoots of recovery are there to be seen after some less-than-impressive performances.
With a vital FA Vase derby match against Cockfosters at the weekend, the Blues have picked a good time to start hitting form.
Hadley Wood and Wingate: Weinrabe (GK), Hadjithemistou, Agyei-Danquah, Sharpe (C), Forbes, Mead, Dujon, Guppy, Kyprianou, Bartram, Walton-Owen
Subs: Marriott, Artimadis, Lyttle, Mafuta, Nyeki