BIDEFORD 5 BISHOP'S CLEEVE 1 (FA CUP)
Bideford ease past Bishop's Cleeve to reach the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
Stand-in captain Max Smallcombe scored twice in two second half minutes as Bideford demolished Bishop's Cleeve 5-1 at the Sports Ground yesterday.
Bideford signalled their intentions right from the start as Craig Duff, Billy Tucker and Sean Downing all went close early on. The opening goal came on 19 minutes as Tucker crossed from the left for Downing to head back across goal and Duff directed a header into the bottom left corner to give The Robins the lead. Despite Bideford's early dominance Bishop's Cleeve weren't far away from an equaliser on 25 minutes as a Joe Bates overhead kick flew just a couple of yards wide. However it didn't faze Bideford who continued to pile on the pressure. Two minutes later Cleeve keeper Elliott Seddon raced out of his area to head away from Ryan Turner only for the ball to fall for Duff who lobbed the ball goalwards but Seddon's blushes were saved by a defender. Steve Oliver then sent a long kick downfield which Turner took down smartly but was denied by Seddon and the same man was denied again not long after.
The second goal came after 37 minutes when Downing forced home from close range after a Tucker corner. Downing's initial header was blocked but he was first to react as he smashed the ball into the net at the second attempt. More chances came before the break as Seddon saved again from Turner and then from both Smallcombe and Tucker from outside of the box.
More Bideford pressure followed in the second half and it was fitting that Smallcombe, wearing the armband in the absence of the suspended Matt Bye, scored the third. Turner squared the ball in the box for Duff whose effort was cleared off the line but Smallcombe fired the ball back into the net from 20 yards for his first Bideford goal. His second came less than a minute from the restart as a good Bideford move ended with Smallcombe carrying the ball into the box from the left and finishing well past Seddon at the near post. Bishop's Cleeve then pulled one back in bizarre circumstances. Hinsa Gaye was flagged offside after a long ball forward but the referee's assistant then put his flag back down and Gaye continued on to round Oliver and roll the ball into the net to much protest. The goal sparked a short lived revival for the away side as Will Tunnicliffe shot just over from the edge of the box and Oliver had to be alert to beat Elliott Kennedy to the ball when it looked like the number seven was in.
Tucker broke away for Bideford on the counter and forced a good save from Seddon then Dan Western came very close to adding a fifth two minutes later. Western unleashed a dipping volley from 30 yards that crashed downwards off the crossbar and Downing's headed follow up had to be tipped over the bar. Just a few minutes later Downing fired in a stinging left footed drive that Seddon did well to hold while at the other end Craig Allan produced a great saving challenge to foil Jack Sklenar just as he was about to pull the trigger.
The fifth goal came five minutes from the end as substitute Craig Veal put in a great cross from the right for Tucker to bury a header into the top corner. Veal himself almost got in on the act in the last minute after a one-two with Kevin Squire but his low shot was saved by Seddon.
Bideford: Oliver, Sampson, Allan, Harrison, Reed, Smallcombe, Western, Downing (Veal 83), Tucker, Duff (Squire 76), Turner (Levien 87). Subs: Veal, Squire, Mayne, Levien, Barker.
Bideford: Duff 19, Downing 37, Smallcombe 61, 62, Tucker 85
Bishop's Cleeve: Gaye 67