BIDEFORD 1 BARNSTAPLE TOWN 0
WARD STRIKES TO BEAT BARNSTAPLE
Matt Ward’s second half strike gave Bideford a deserved win over rivals Barnstaple Town in the North Devon Derby at the Sports Ground on Monday.
Ward’s goal in the 65th minute was his first for the club and earned Bideford their first win of the season at the expense of their neighbours Barnstaple who are yet to get off the mark.
The first half was a very dull affair and while Bideford were on top for most of it there were very few chances for either team. Rob Holmes got down to push away a dangerous Liam Gregory cross early on which just evaded Ryan Turner and Ben Carter tried his luck from all of 40 yards with Holmes off his line but was just off target. Kevin Squire nodded down for Turner to strike straight at Holmes just before the half hour mark and Squire himself headed a Tucker cross which was comfortably saved by the Barum goalkeeper. In a rare break at the other end Corey Roach raced away and struck a low shot which was well parried by Steve Oliver and James Mayne was on hand to tidy up. Billy Hopcroft also scuffed a shot straight at Oliver as the half came to a close.
In the second half Jack Jenkins fired over the crossbar for Barnstaple after his initial free kick had been blocked by the wall of Bideford players. The home side then really started to dominate the game as the clock ticked towards the hour mark. Craig Allan headed a Tucker free kick back across goal for Turner to hook a shot on goal but Holmes was able to tip over. The breakthrough came from a free kick right on the edge of the box after Turner had been fouled. Carter’s free kick cannoned back off the post for Squire to fire back at goal but his shot was saved by Holmes and Ward was on hand to smash into the net.
The goal only helped breed more confidence in The Robins who swarmed forward looking for more goals. Ward came mightily close to a second as he was played in by Tucker on the right but his shot was tipped onto the crossbar by Holmes in the 71st minute. A quick throw-in by Tucker allowed Squire to get to the by-line but there was no one on hand to finish his cut back. Carter then struck a shot over the bar from outside of the box before a Matt Bye corner was directed onto the crossbar via a Barum head. Squire then forced a good save from Holmes with ten minutes left and Tucker flashed a shot just wide from the edge of the box.
Sean Joyce: “I actually thought we did ok first 15-20 minutes. If we’d have scored then we’d have gone on to win it comfortably. We just didn't create enough in the final third as our front four were collectively poor in the first half. I didn’t have to say anything at half time really other than keep doing what you’re doing.”
“I thought Barnstaple were better in the first ten minutes of the second half but then we kicked on. Overall I thought we controlled the game well. We didn’t get overexcited afterwards but it is a massively important win because it gets that monkey off our back. We’ll only get better now especially with players coming back.”
Bideford: Oliver, Haynes, Allan, Mayne, Gregory, Tucker, Bye, Carter, Wood (Ward 59), Squire, Turner (Hancox 81). Subs not used: Sampson, Down.
Goal: Ward 65