Northamptonshire FA’s U18 Representative Squad made the short journey to Bedfordshire on Sunday to play their second league game of the season against their near neighbours Bedfordshire FA.
After a minute’s silence, Bedfordshire kicked off and started the game with a real purpose, starting on the front foot and catching the Northants players unaware. After some good saves from the Northants ‘keeper Jonathan Thick, Bedfordshire took a deserved lead in the 10th minute courtesy of their number 9 Matt Fraser, who directed a nice header after a good cross from the left.
Six minutes later a defensive mistake led to Bedfordshire’s second goal. With Northants trying to get a foothold in the game, they were caught out by the impressive no 10 for Bedfordshire who was causing trouble for Northants with his excellent movement on and off the ball. He then went on to score a good third goal after 30 minutes. The first half came to an end with the score line at 3-0.
Northants started the second half positively and competed really well. The defence tightened up and halted the threat from the Bedfordshire forwards, and with the midfield working hard – a special mention to the work rate of Ben Fitzjohn for Northants - they were more than matching their opponents and creating some good chances.
With the game now evenly balanced, Northants suffered a setback when their skipper James Owen made a brave challenge on the Bedfordshire ‘keeper, resulting in the player being taken to hospital. The rest of the game was played out as a physical contest and both teams cancelled each other out. Bedfordshire held out - despite going down to 10 men - for a deserved victory.
Credit is due to Northants, who after their slow start, fought their way back into the game. Thanks go to Bedfordshire for their hospitality on the day.
Northants now enter their third round cup tie at Staffordshire FA.