Report by Ron Tarry
Congratulations to Bobby and all the lads for reaching the play-offs, although we face a daunting task against Poole or Gosport in the first match of that series, the final league positions being undecided until next Saturday. There is still hope, however, for we drew at Gosport and won at Poole on our league visits and we must make the trip with a positive attitude.
This was an excellent performance at Bideford,for the league table does not lie and they are worthy champions, unbeaten at home and only losing three times during the season, their success being built on an unbeaten run from October 29th., when they won a here, until they lost at Gosport on April 7th. A magnificent run of 25 games.
Nevertheless, we did ourselves proud after the long trip to Devon and deserved the point we needed to ensure a play-off position, but North
Leigh’s defeat by Poole made sure that we qualified in any case.
There was little between the two sides in the first half, but Luke Brewer
was injured after a strong tackle and went off after lengthy treatment, but Matt Day
fired the resulting free-kick over the bar. Although Brewer returned for a spell, he was clearly not fit and was eventually replaced by Sean Wood, A Diak John
clearance was charged down, but Chay Morris cut out the cross confidently when Bideford attacked and we had a great chance when Matt Jack
got clear, but his shot was deflected behind off the keeper’s body and John put the corner behind. Mark Draycott shot weakly at the keeper when we had a free-kick some 25 yards out, and a cross-shot from Matt Jack
only found the side netting as half time approached.
The second half remained evenly matched but Bideford had their best chance when a Kevin Squires header glanced off the top of the bar, but they scored the only goal after 75 minutes when Matt Hockley converted a penalty when Shaun Dowling went down in the penalty area.
We battled on strongly during that last quarter of an hour and did plenty of attacking, but were unable to get a clear shot on target and Morris had to pull off a couple of good saves near the end to prevent another goal.
Despite a lengthy delay before the Champion’s Shield and medals were presented to the home side, it was good to see our players and management team stay on the pitch and warmly applaud the home side as they celebrated their success.