Biggleswade FC winners in first table-top duel with Harpenden

Biggleswade FC came out victors in the first part of their double header against title rivals Harpenden Town on Saturday.

The 1-0 win gave them a valuable three points in front of an 85-strong crowd at the Carlsberg Stadium and extended their lead at the top of the SSML Division One table – briefly – to seven points before the sides met again on Tuesday.

With Josh Holmes playing his first 90 minutes since early October and Nick Henebery back after injury FC had a solid looking back four.

The game started with Harpenden playing deeper than normal leaving Harry Hunt as the lone striker This led to the first ten minutes being very cagey, Biggleswade being allowed possession and not pressed until they entered the Harps half.

As Biggleswade worked the ball they started to create the areas of space to cause Harpenden problems. George Bailey and Ryan Inskip started to link play and it was the latter who had the first opening as his shot went wide.

FC started to take charge as first Tom Cookman lifted his shot over when in great shape, then the Harpenden keeper made a great double save from first Bailey and then reacting as Henebery looked like putting the rebound away.

The opener came in the next attack as Bailey found space down the left and fed Ryan Inskip on the edge of the box, Inskip turning and bending his shot into the far corner.

FC almost got a second within two minutes as Adam Hunt and Cookman combined to find Inskip but this time his shot just went the wrong side of the post. Finishing the half strongly Bailey saw his shot well saved and Rhys Thorpe’s cushioned header just cleared the bar.

A change of shape and attitude from Harpenden ensured the second half would be a much tighter affair, Harry Hunt putting two early chances wide.

With Harpenden pressing Biggleswade were still creating their own openings as Inskip flashed a shot over the bar and Bailey again made the keeper produce his best.

With time running out Sam wWer produced a great reactive save as a shot was deflected off of a defender, Sam turning it over the bar.

The game was slightly marred by two awful challenges, one on Bailey and the other on Adam Hunt that on another day could have seen both players dismissed however on this occasion only yellows were brandished.