United march on in the Vase after dramatic shoot-out win
United, who enjoyed a run to the fourth round of the competition last season, are on the march again and on this occasion proved too good for a Real Bedford side who are currently top of the SSML Premier Division and favourites for promotion.
It took an arduous tie at McMullen Park to achieve it, a 2-2 draw then followed by a shoot-out that United won 7-6 to progress, that coming after United had netted a last-gasp equaliser just moments after Bedford had missed a penalty.
Coree Wilson had put United ahead just before half-time, but Real bounced back with an equaliser from Ben Stevens before Tom Wood then put them in front on the hour mark despite Ethan Flanagan appearing to have cleared the ball off the line.
The turning point came with three minutes left, as Tom Wyant got down well to save Charlie Smith’s penalty.
And right at the death, United levelled when Wilson broke into the box before cutting onto his right foot and hammering the ball home to take the tie to penalties.
At 3-3, Conor Inskip missed his penalty to give Bedford the advantage, but needing to score to win the tie, Smith again saw Wyant save his kick.
The shoot-out went on, and after United netted their eighth kick to make it 7-6, Lewis Burgess put his penalty wide of the post to send United through to a home tie with either Whitchurch Allport or Lutterworth Athletic on December 2.
United joint-boss Gaz Hunt told the club’s media channels afterwards: “What a game, and credit to both sides. It’s never easy coming here as Bedford have a really good side, so we’re so proud of the lads as they listened to everything we asked them to do.
"We didn’t think their second goal crossed the line, but to then pick ourselves up, grab an equaliser and then go and win the penalties is a good day at the office.”
United have no game this weekend.
*Biggleswade Town continued their good form with a 3-0 win at Barton Rovers on Saturday, Luke Andrews, Jack Morrell and Jon Clements on target.
They’ll welcome Waltham Abbey this weekend, while Biggleswade FC, without a game last weekend, go to Hertford Town.