Bedford Town FC played host to this year’s Bedfordshire FA Senior Challenge Cup Final between Biggleswade Town FC and Barton Rovers FC. Will Finnie was the man in the middle under the floodlights joined by Mark Bright and Phil Wilkinson and Jeff Aldous.
Biggleswade began with a bright start seeing many chances in front of goal early, the best coming from a nice passing move but could not be turned in by Biggleswade’s Nwaboukei.
After 15 minutes with little possession Barton began to pile on the pressure on their opponents resulting in a number of free kicks, however they were unable to take the lead through them. Biggleswade saw yet another golden opportunity come their way, this time through number 10 Matt Ball who dragged his shot wide.
It was in the 25th minute which saw Barton’s first clear cut chance, Jimmy Hartley adjusted fantastically to meet an awkward bouncing ball striking it clean on the half volley unfortunately this was matched by Town’s keeper Donkin who got down to his left to make a great save! Just 4 minutes later Liam Brooks of Biggleswade Town took advantage of a mix up between the Barton defence which resulted in him slotting the ball into an empty goal.
Biggleswade continued to mark their dominance as they went looking to double their lead before the break. Barton’s Lee Close went in for a strong challenge just before half time however not to the satisfaction of the referee whom awarded Biggleswade with a free kick. After just 1 minute of extra time, Biggleswade walked down the tunnel with the advantage.
Barton came out quick of the blocks this time round, beginning the second half with a real desire to come back from the 1-0 deficit. 20 minutes into the second half Biggleswade managed to retain their 1-0 lead after Barton continued to play with the confidence they found after the break.
Despite Barton’s efforts, Biggleswade managed to score after a dazzling run from Nwaboukei who drove from deep in midfield to set up Lucien who sealed of the move with a great finish in the 60th minute. Biggleswade quickly regained the upper hand of this game showing that they were worthy of the 2-0 lead.
After a few frustrating minutes for Barton, the managers hoped to inspire some motivation into the squad through a number of substitutions. After 10 minutes of play the game opened up which led to Barton retaining the ball for longer periods of the second half, they were still in search of a final ball to create a goal scoring opportunity.
As fatigue began to creep into the Barton squad, Biggleswade looked to attack the width of the pitch through Lucien who continued to glide pass the Barton defence. Jack Bradshaw sealed the deal for the Town with an impressive strike from 25 yards out in the final few minutes of the game. After an additional 3 minutes, Biggleswade became Bedfordshire FA Senior Challenge Cup champions 2019!
After a number of impressive performances it was Sam Lucien who edged the Man of the Match award decided by the Bedfordshire FA Youth Council. Another fantastic night of local football displayed just what talent we have at our doorstep!
A huge thank you to everyone who was involved in the running of the cup and those who came out to show their support, the game would not be possible without you!
Biggleswade Town: Sam Donkin, Ben Walster, Lucas Perry, Kieran Forbes (C), Jordan Gent, David Longe-King, Shaun Lucien, Jack Bradshaw, Liam Brooks, Matt Ball, Solomon Nwaboukei
Substitutes: Brett Donnelly, Luca Allinson, Peter Clark, Joe White
Barton Rovers: Gary Malone, Matt Hall, Gary Jones, Steph Bailey, Paul Andrews (C), Lee Close, Victor Osobu, Mason Spence, Connor Vincent, Jimmy Hartley, Andrew Phillips
Substitutes: Charlie Clayton, Sam Gibson, Jay Palmer, Kai Phelan, Dan Gould
Written by: Bedfordshire FA Youth Council
Photos: Brandon Goldsmith