BIDEFORD 1 BARNSTAPLE TOWN 1
Bideford were forced to settle for a point after conceding a last minute equaliser in the North Devon Derby.
Nathan Cooper’s late strike snatched a point for Barnstaple Town in atrocious conditions at the Sports Ground on Boxing Day. 602 braved the poor weather as both sides really struggled on a bog of a pitch caused by twenty-four hours of heavy rain.
Bideford had a golden opportunity to take the lead after 13 minutes as a defensive error saw Ryan Turner clean through on goal but Turner’s effort was saved by Neil Osbourne in what would be the only clear cut chance of the half. The muddy pitch appeared to be winning as Craig Duff almost played in Billy Tucker but the ball held up suddenly to the relief of the Barnstaple defence. Turner then forced his way to the byline but his cutback was well held by Osbourne.
Barnstaple began the second half well as a good move on the left ended with Jed Harper-Penman lifting the ball over Steve Oliver but also just over the crossbar. Soon after Nial Heeney headed wide when he should have done better and Barum were made to pay just minutes later. Ben Carter’s cross from the right was headed back across the six yard box by Tucker and Duff was on hand to sidefoot The Robins in front from close range.
Tucker saw a free kick saved by Osbourne and another from Matt Bye flew past the top right corner as the game approached the final 20 minutes. At the other end Oliver made a good block to deny Archie Reay as the substitute closed in on goal from the right. Just as it seemed Bideford would see the game out they were caught napping in the final minute of the ninety. Bye gave away a cheap free kick on the left and Bideford were not alert to the quickly taken set piece as Jordan Walton sent a low ball into the box which ricocheted in the six yard box allowing Cooper to slide the ball low into the net. The point could be an important one for Barnstaple in their battle against relegation while Bideford have now gone four games without a win and remain in 8th place.
Bideford: Oliver, Sampson, Mayne, Harrison, Reed, Downing, Bye (Squire 90), Carter, Tucker, Duff, Turner (Seymour 64). Subs: Seymour, Squire, Allan, Western.
Bideford: Duff 52
Barnstaple Town: Cooper 89