BIDEFORD 0 TAUNTON TOWN 1
WRIGHT RETURNS TO HAUNT THE ROBINS
Bideford’s play-off hopes were dealt another blow as champions-elect Taunton Town left the Sports Ground with a 1-0 win on a wet Easter Monday.
Ex-Robin Matt Wright scored the only goal of the game with 17 minutes remaining to leave already promoted Taunton just five points away from the West Division title. For Bideford, it’s now three straight defeats leaving them in 10th position with a lot of work to do to get back into the play-off scramble.
In a scrappy game on a difficult pitch, Taunton started well and were close to going ahead after just six minutes. Pierce Mitchell’s deep cross was met by a looping header from Nuno Felix which rebounded back off the crossbar. Dan Sullivan repeatedly tried to force the ball home but was denied by Steve Oliver. Soon after, Mitchell again caused problems on the right this time pulling the ball back across goal and missing everyone before Wright blazed a shot over.
Bideford’s first good chance fell to Ryan Turner but after cutting inside onto his right foot, the striker’s shot was well saved by Lloyd Irish. Sullivan was then put through by a Wright flick on but could only lift the ball over the advancing Oliver and into the side netting. The game threatened to boil over on the half hour as Max Smallcombe and Ollie Chamberlain collided in a 50/50 challenge but after a scuffle involving almost everyone on the pitch, only Wright and Matt Bye were booked.
The runaway league leaders continued to threaten in the second half with a long throw leading to a great last ditch block to deny Sullivan and Oliver saving after a good run and shot from Mitchell. Bideford then changed their shape with substitute Ben Wood and Josh Key moving to a wing back role and it almost paid dividends immediately. A good Bideford move ended with a great reverse pass from Sean Downing playing in Turner but his shot was pulled just wide of the right hand post. It was a big chance for The Robins and another opportunity followed as Downing carried the ball almost the length of the field before playing it to Ben Seymour on the right but the young striker was just unable to find Downing again with his cut back.
After Oliver made a really good save from Sullivan, Wood cut in from the left for Bideford and forced Irish to save low down at his near post. It was Bideford’s best spell of the game so of course it ended with The Peacocks taking the lead on 73 minutes. Sullivan got past Key on the left and crossed for Chamberlain whose header was saved by Oliver. However, the otherwise excellent Bideford stopper made his only mistake of the game as he pushed the ball out to the feet of Wright who smashed home from close range. It was hard on Bideford who had defended stoutly throughout. Oliver, to his credit did not let it affect him as he soon made another super stop from Sullivan. Bideford pressed forward late on looking for an equaliser but Bye’s free kick sailed over in injury time and Ian Sampson drove a shot wide with virtually the last kick of the game.
A special thank you to all of the great volunteers who gave up their morning to help get the pitch playable for the game. Large areas of the pitch were under water after a couple of days of heavy rain and the game would not have gone ahead without their assistance.
Bideford: Oliver, Sampson, Allan, Harrison, Reed (Western 74), Bye, Smallcombe (Seymour 63), Key, Downing, Squire (Wood 57), Turner. Subs: Western, Mayne, Hancox, Seymour, Wood.
Goal: Wright 73