The first of two back to back encounters with Sun Sports finished in Biggleswade United’s favour in a competitive match in Watford on Tuesday.
The 3-1 win gave Cristian Colas’ team their fourth consecutive win and moved them up to eighth in the SSML Premier Division table.
Only the brave turned out for this one and in front of a sparse crowd – due possibly to the cold and a certain Mr Messi making an appearance on British telly – but they were treated to an entertaining match with its fair share of feistiness and periods of eloquent, flowing football.
However, it took time for both sides to adjust to the conditions and the opening ten minutes saw each struggle to maintain possession. United were trying to make the most of the wide pitch, with the midfield playing in wingmen Adam Drakulic and Tom Cookman at every opportunity but the Sun defenders rallied to block the route through their ranks.
But with 16 minutes on the clock a ball wide from Nick Elliott to Cookman saw him play a quick ball into youngster Scott Batchelor and with a composure beyond his 18 years he managed to lob the ball over the keeper from 15 yards out and give United an early lead.
As was to be expected the Sun came back strongly and three minutes later a long range strike from the impressive Ashley Lewis had keeper Tom Wyant beaten but the woodwork came to his rescue.
United’s good fortune continued when, in the 25th minute, they were gifted a second goal courtesy of an unfortunate defender’s wayward boot. A combo of play between Cookman, Luke Jones and James Cooper was finished with a strike from Cooper that saw the luckless defender attempt to clear only for the ball to loop over his keeper’s head and in to the back of the net.
Drakulic went close to making it 3-0 in the 38th minute but Sun keeper Ross Hampton managed to get a fingertip to his curling shot and Mohamed Hashem wriggled his way through a packed defence but saw his final effort turned away by Ross Hampton for a corner.
With almost the final touch of the half the Sun pulled a goal back. A free kick from the right flank found Lewis unmarked in the United six yard area and he headed past Wyant to reduce the deficit and save his teammates from the half time hairdryer treatment.
The opening second half exchanges saw neither side able to break down two well organised defences. United had returning skipper Jones marshalling proceedings while his opposite number, Scott Bonner, had the home side back line well drilled thus reducing chances for either sides’ strikers to add to the goal tally.
Controversy reined though in the 71st minute when a long ball from United defender Lee Bilcock saw an offside Drakulic start to chase down the ball deep in to Sun half. Realising he was offside he left the ball to full back James Cooper and while the Sun players called for a flag, Cooper laid it back to Drakulic who was then upended by a frustrated Sun defender. From the resulting free kick Hashem picked out Elliott who took the ball wide and tucked it away from the narrowest of angles for 3-1 to United.
Sun were presented with a golden opportunity to retrieve something from the game in the 80th minute. A hotly disputed penalty decision given by the assistant referee for a handball that clearly struck Matt Cooper’s chest gave Lewis the chance to claim his second goal of the night from the spot. Wyant was reading from a different script, however, and United’s young keeper pulled off a stunning one handed save to maintain United’s two goal lead that they held on to until the final whistle.
Both sides meet again on Saturday for the fourth time this season – includes two cup matches – when Sun Sports visit Second Meadow. Kick Off 3pm.