Wednesday 17th November 2021 7:45pm – Southern League Central Division – The New Eyrie, Bedford
For a town of just 20,000 people it takes some head scratching to understand why Biggleswade in the centre of Bedfordshire has three football clubs playing in the Non-League pyramid, although one of the sides has spread their wings and left the nest to fly to, well, the nest.
Whilst Town and United have remained in the town centre, FC have moved up the A1 and across the A603 to the New Eyrie, or Eagle’s Nest having moved there after the curtailment of the 2020/21 season, sharing the facilities with fellow Southern League Central Division Bedford Town.
Whilst many will question why I joined approximately 75 others on a chilly Wednesday night in November in truth it was convenience. After a day in our office in Leicester, congestion on the M1 meant I faced a 3 1/2 journey home. Logical solution – break the journey, gets some food…oh hang on, Biggleswade were at home – almost exactly half-way home, and they had a burger van with a strong reputation for its range of sauces.
It almost felt as if I was cheating by watching a Southern League game. I’m an Isthmian League boy through and through but sometimes, it is important to try something new just to test your loyalty. It felt the same once I was in the ground, it looked the same when the players took the pitch and sounded the same, with a crackly PA system broadcasting into the night. I made a byline for the food and sure enough, there were 10 different sauces to accompany any of the freshly cooked food. I plumped with some chips with Buffalo sauce. “Is that made with real buffalo…hahahah” said a guy queuing behind me. I gave him the history of the origins of the sauce and I could see he was so impressed he bought a cup of tea and walked off.
It was disappointing to see so few people in the ground. With little “competition” on a Wednesday night in the local area and only £8 to get in, who wouldn’t want to be in the New Eyrie? Rhetorical question of course.
As for the game, Biggleswade had the better of the opening exchanges, finding a lot of success down the right-hand side but were thwarted on by a) a decent Thame Utd keeper, b) some poor finishing and c) some decisions from the officials that were hard to fathom. It was the perfect storm, which of course meant that the visitors naturally took the lead with one of their first attempts on the Biggleswade goal in the 30th minute, with Thame United’s Goss (no relation to Luke or Matt according to their secretary) heading home from a corner.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 52nd minute, perhaps against the run of play when Pearce was allowed too much space and finished neatly into the corner of the net. Ten minutes later and it game over as once again the home side allowed Thame to run through the midfield and Blake prodded the ball home from close range.
I never got to ask anyone why there are three teams in Biggleswade but I suppose it doesn’t really matter. It’s a good set up at Bedford Town, and with the team sitting top of the Southern League Central Division it is likely to be hosting Step 3 next season, almost certainly playing local derbies against the United from Biggleswade. But it was a new ground, on a long journey home so I’m happy with that.