Cranfield's Crawley Road ground is situated on the outskirts of the village of Cranfield, almost on the end of the runaway for Cranfield Airport. There is a reasonable sized car park behind one of the goals at the same end as the clubhouse and facilities block. There is also car parking available on grass alongside the Crawley Road side of the ground. On the opposite side to this is the main stand and dugouts. It's a very nicely kept ground, especially considering the clubs current Step 7 status. The pitch was in very good condition. Maybe Chris Sutton needs to visit Cranfield?
Entry to the ground was free of charge on the evening that I visited.
The fare on Tuesday was a Bedfordshire FA Senior Trophy clash between the hosts Cranfield United and Langford, from the Spartan South Midlands Division One. I couldn't find out too much information about the history of the competition but, it appears that Cranfield made it to the Final last season only to be beaten 2-0 by Tottenhoe.
Cranfield's progress this season had seen them win 2-1 at Ickwell & Old Warden in Round 1. Langford had crusied past Marston Shelton Rovers by 6-2
In the league Cranfield, who play in the Bedfordshire County Premier, sit third but have two ganes in hand on both Crawley Green Reserves (a point above Cranfield) and Shefford Town & Campton, who are six points clear. United are unbeaten in the league so far, winning five and drawing two, scoring 18 and conceding 7. Captain Courtney Boughton is also their top scorer with 6 goals in 10 games.
Langford, who play at a Step above their opponents, are currently 11th in the South Midlands Division One. They have a very uniform record in the league, played 12, won 6, lost 6. Their top scorers this season are Jack Worbey with 8 and Lewis Osborne with 6.
The game was only 6 minutes old when Langford's Nugent was hauled down just outside the area. After lengthy treatment the player was not able to continue and was substituted. Tony Rome stepped up and crashed the free-kick past Roggero into the bottom corner of the net. 0-1
A good start from Langford but Cranfield were not downhearted and picked themselves up well, getting themselves well and truly into the game.
After 24 minutes they almost grabbed an equaliser when left-back Aaron Chaplin somehow wriggled his way into the box, breaking a number of tackles in the way. His low drive, however, was brilliantly turned away by Ben Watson, diving to his right and getting a hand to the goal-bound effort.
HT Cranfield United 0 Langford 1. A fairly even first half after the early goal.
On 70 minutes came a bizarre event. Langford were attacking and, following a shot which Langford believed had been tipped over by the keeper, the referee awarded a goal-kick. I'm not sure what Ben Watson, the Langford keeper, said from the other end of the pitch but, whatever it was, the referee deemed it worthy of a straight red card. So, with 20 minutes remaining, Langford were forced to sacrifice their right-back Jordan Stuart, in order to bring on a replacement goalkeeper.
The replacement's first job was almost to pick the ball out of the net as a CRanfield effort came back off one of his uprights.
However, Langford managed to hang on a progress through to the Third Round.
FT Cranfield United 0 Langford 1. A hard-fought game between two pretty well matched sides decided by an excellent free-kick.
Cranfield United: Roggero, Harding, Chaplin, Henry-Brown, Newman, Jones, Ricciardi, Gillies, Boughton (c), Philips, McBrien. Subs: Mitri, Webb, Smithson, Simpson, Smith
Langford: B. Watson, Stuart, Green, Ali(c), Dean, Poulton, Edwards, Osborne, Bamfod, Rome, Nugent. Subs: Auburn, Tizard, K. Watson, Bridge, Wells
Ground Number: 170
Programme: Not available