Bedford could be without wing Ollie Dodge for a prolonged period after he was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
The former England Under 20 was carried off midway through the first half and taken straight to a local hospital. He underwent an X-ray before being helped onto the team bus for the journey home. The injury to the wing compounded a disappointing afternoon for the Blues who were beaten 23-13 by Bristol.
James Pritchard scored all the points for the Blues with a converted try and two penalties. The defeat was Bedford's first of the season and leaves them seven points adrift of leaders Newcastle who they meet on Saturday.
“There was a lot of frustrations with our errors and what I think we should do is turn its head and say what a great performance it was from Bristol," Martin Hynes, the Blues forward coach, said. "They played the conditions very well.
“They were very disciplined and the structure that they put on the game allowed them to reap their rewards from things like our ill-discipline when they were in the right areas of the field so hats off and fair play to Bristol.”
Bedford had gone in to the break 10-6 ahead but Bristol came out with increased determination and quickly reduced the arrears with a converted try and a penalty. Luke Eaves then claimed the crucial score when Bristol had been reduced to 14 men following a sin-binning.
“We faltered with some of the things that we had done well in the first half and Bristol packed the game up really well," Hynes said. "Some of their kicking was fantastic and the forwards showed their strength.
“I have no issues when you are beaten by a better side and our performance wasn’t good enough for us; it wasn’t good enough for our traveling fans. We need to have a look at ourselves this week before the visit of Newcastle."
Bedford went into the game unbeaten and full of confidence after scoring 21 tries in two previous cup games.But they were always going to be up against it at a ground where they have won once in 126 years, especially after Don Barrell and James Stephenson were forced to withdraw late because of ilness.
“You don’t become a bad side over night and you’d be arrogant to say that you’d go through the season without loosing a game," Hynes said. "We are an honest group of lads and we’ll try and out it right as quickly as we can.”
The win was Bristol's third Championship win of the season and one of two back to back games targeted by head coach Liam Middleton. They play Nottingham next at Meadow Lane.
“It was pleasing to get a league win with four league points and it allows us to starting chipping away at the league table," Middleston said. "I thought this was a significant victory because Bedford are a quality side and they showed that.
“I think we made an error with their try, it was a simple mistake in wet conditions, and I thought we could have locked them out. There have been a lot of people writing us off and doubting us but I said to the players that the only people who won’t doubt us is ourselves.
“I think that when we came out for the second half that there was a sense that we weren’t going to lose this game because we believe in ourselves. We have to be a group of people with strong character if we want to progress.”