With Larry Eaton retiring from the game, as promised, following his first ever goal against Royston in week one, Dom Peachy was drafted in to provide a solid foundation to the right flank. New boy Miles slotted into midfield like pro.
The game was as bright and fresh as the morning on which it was to be played and delivered an end-to-end goal fest. Bedford opened the scoring, against the run of play, with a tap-in following a somewhat unfortunate missed opportunity for Berko to clear the lines.
While the defending left a little to be desired, the whites looked very sharp on the counter attack and were soon level. Dispossessing the Bedford forwards at top D, Pettefer slipped to Vila at left half, who shovelled up the line to Allam for him to slap the ball into the path of the perfectly timed Bowman, who deflected past the lonely keeper. Bedford were caught napping for a second time when the forwards combined again soon after. Allam lofted a lovely aerial into the D from the halfway side-line. Bowman, on the sprint, took one touch, flicked the ball over the keeper Gazza 1990 style, and slipped past the net minder to finish the job.
Following further end-to-end sparring, Bedford stole another scrambled goal to draw level, however, Berko were able to once again snatch a lead before half time, this time Allam hammering home a short corner, into the back of the net via the foot of a Bedford defender. The umpire could not be convinced by the heavily limping player that the shot was lifted. 3-2
Heading into the half-time b*****king, Berko were hit with the news that pivot-man Simon Royal could not go on and thus were reduced to a bare 11. With a drink on board, and words of encouragement duly administered by the skipper, the visitors headed back into the sunshine with renewed enthusiasm.
The score-line moved like a slinking caterpillar twice more during the second half. Bedford drew level with a sweet strike from top D in open play, before Allam found the backboard from another short. 4-3 to M1. Bedford's three substitutes made it hard work in the heat and legs began to tire. The pressure told and the home side were able to force a short of their own. I can't remember how that one was scored but it was. To be honest, with a double figured rubber to report on, the detail on all of the above goals may include some creative interpretation. 4-4 but I have lost track of to whom.
I do know that Berko went ahead again with ten minutes left, Allam bludgeoning another home from a short. Painfully, Beford were able to draw level (somehow). In the dying minutes, some excellent link play saw both Allam and Bowman with good chances on goal, though shots from both whistled uncharacteristically wide and M1 were forced to settle for hard earned solitary point.
Man of the match went to Ollie Bowman for some decisive runs and general trickery, his two goals clearly more appealing to his teammates than the hat trick scored off the 1-wood of the captain.