Biggleswade United rediscovered that winning feeling that had began to elude them with a narrow 1-0 success over Wembley on a blustery Saturday afternoon at Second Meadow.
As well as competing with the opposition, the players had to contend with the adverse weather conditions in what proved to be a hard-fought encounter between two sides who’ve made dramatic improvements in the past two months to allay any fears of a potential relegation battle for either team.
After failing to convert two fairly good performances into three points against both Tring Athletic and Hertford Town, the result was the most important thing for Cristian Colás’ men on this occasion was to secure the win and they did precisely that.
The wind restricted their ability to exert their passing game on The Lions but with Nyasha Sagwete and skipper Martin Russell ensuring they recorded an eighth clean sheet in twelve games, one goal always looked to be sufficient.
That goal came through versatile left-sided player Kane Farrell, who occupied a left wing position and was heavily involved in the first half exchanges.
His first contribution came when bullish striker Tom Cookman showed good persistence to retrieve the ball by the corner flag, before finding Lucas Joyce who laid it off for Farrell but the former Southend United player’s curling shot was easy enough for goalkeeper Grigoli Zulmatashvili to collect.
As the wind showed no signs of relenting neither did Farrell as he was played through on goal prior to looping the ball over the onrushing keeper and then being found by Cookman after the United frontman latched onto the loose ball. However, he was swiftly ruled offside as he drilled his shot wide of the post.
The at times irrepressible Joyce then found Farrell in a goalscoring position once again as he powered to the byline and delivered a cross, only for the subsequent shot to be turned harmlessly over the bar. United were firmly on top now with their perpetual pressing causing Wembley much difficulty.
Ironically it was at a point where the visitors appeared their most settled in the game shortly after when United struck the decisive blow. Joyce floated a ball to the back post and Cookman’s acrobatic effort inadvertently found Farrell who calmly side footed home.
Wembley enjoyed a decent spell of possession following that goal but struggled to create anything of note as the half concluded with another opportunity coming for the home side.
Joyce utilised his pace and trickery once again before crossing towards Cookman at the near post, who couldn’t quite adjust his feet to gain a firmer contact on the ball as he directed it into the keeper’s gloves.
United started the second period positively, although it was the away side who began to show signs of a threat with Yassine Fehmi-Gil having two contrasting efforts on goal.
First a free kick which sailed comfortably wide of United keeper Dan Boughton’s goal, before the man promoted from the U23s tipped the former Harrow Borough midfielder’s speculative volley over the bar.
The game then became rather disjointed with both teams searching for fluency in their play amidst the strong winds. United were still able to carve out chances, however, with Russell missing from close range after being found at the near post by Nick Elliot. Elliot then had his free kick from about thirty yards out easily saved, immediately after Charlie Evans-Critchley had entered the fray in the place of Matt Cooper.
Wembley forward Joe Wright then saw his looping shot on the turn held by Boughton as genuine goalscoring opportunities continued to be at a premium for The Lions.
Adam Drakulić then replaced the goalscorer Farrell and the diminutive winger’s first involvement saw him find Lee Bilcock in the area, who hammered his shot over the bar. United continued to look assured with their solitary goal advantage and made their final substitution shortly afterwards as Liam Sweeney replaced Elliot to offer further renewed energy in the midfield. Cookman could have added more gloss to the scoreline when he scuffed his shot into the keeper’s hands but United saw the game out comfortably to secure a vital win.
Without producing their most scintillating performance, United were still worthy winners in a game heavily influenced by the conditions and their ability to secure that result in spite of that can only bode well for them in the future.
Ultimately, after two games without success following that remarkable unbeaten run the victory was the most important aspect of the match and provides a platform to build on ahead of more tough fixtures. The first of those is a trip to Holmer Green next Saturday, KO 3pm.