Biggleswade FC ground out a 2-1 victory in the first part of a crucial double header against county rivals Bedford on Tuesday.
They was to be no repeat of Saturday’s eight goal glut at the Carlsberg Stadium as Bedford worked their socks off all night to deny FC any space to play in.
But the hosts secured the points in front of 92 spectators to stay clear at the top of the SSML Division One going into the return fixture at Bedford on Saturday.
A very scrappy first half saw little to excite the crowd with Biggleswade trying to force too many balls. The first real talking point came on 24 minutes as Rhys Thorpe looked to get on the end of an Alex Marsh pass and what looked like a routine save ended with Bedford losing their keeper with concussion.
With an outfield player taking his place FC, through Lee Northfield, seized their chance as he picked up a loose ball and tucked it in the corner of the net.
Bedford had their own opportunity to level things as Biggleswade keeper Dan Child failed to gather a cross but the Bedford striker could only put the ball wide. Marsh saw a shot clear the bar but in truth neither keeper were really tested.
The second half saw Biggleswade showing more intent but Bedford were not prepared to give them room. FC did miss a gilt-edged chance on 50 minutes with Ian Rees finding Ryan Inskip inside the six yard box but he somehow put the ball over the bar.
Northfield twice caused problems down the left but both times his crosses were blocked and cleared to safety.
With 70 minutes gone Bedford were awarded a free kick midway inside the Biggleswade half and with the floated ball being headed home FC’s promotion charge looked like taking a knock.
A triple substitution saw the rested tom Cookman and Adam Hunt brought on alongside new signing Lawrie Marsh. And it reaped dividends inside two minutes as Hunt picked the ball up on the edge of the box, beat two players and crossed where Cookman blasted FC back in front.
Bedford did score what they thought was a second equaliser but the linesman’s flag saw it ruled out.
With the experience of Cookman to help settle things Biggleswade saw out the remaining minutes to claim a valuable three points.