Report by the North Devon Journal
BILLY Tucker's second-half penalty earned Bideford a point as they held Cirencester Town to a 1-1 draw. Tucker slotted home to cancel out Charlie Griffin's early header and make it just one defeat in the last five Evo-Stik League Southern games for Bideford.
Sean Joyce's men had to survive wave after wave of Cirencester attacks in the first half but stood firm and could have gone on to snatch all three points late on with Nick Barker and Jamie Chamberlain both going close.
Considering the first half, it was a good result," said manager Joyce. "My teams are built on heart, hunger and desire and we lacked that in the first half. We were lucky to stay in it. We were miles off it, but I knew why and I have been in football that long I can put it back together. You get the lads in at half-time, explain what you want and in the second half we were a different team."
It was a slow start as Ross Langworthy's low drive, palmed away by Bideford keeper Kyle Moore, was the only effort of note. Kevin Squire did meet a long Tucker throw but his dangerous flick evaded a red shirt.
The visitors broke the deadlock after 21 minutes when Langworthy pumped a hopeful high ball into the box and Griffin met it at close range to head past Moore. Bideford almost went two down less than a minute later when Moore played his way into trouble and Griffin rounded him, but the keeper recovered well to block the big striker's effort.
Town had further chances to increase their lead before the break as Olly Knight blasted over at the near post, captain Leigh Henry had a headed goal disallowed for a foul, Bilad Hooper volleyed just wide and Langworthy hit the bar directly from a corner.
But the Robins came out a different side after the interval and, after Moore had kept out Mark Pritchett's header, they started to take control. Richard Groves, who went off injured a minute later, fired wide after 57 minutes but replacement Angus Wilson played his part in the equaliser as he raced through on goal and was brought down by Pritchett in the box. Despite protests from Pritchett – who was booked for the offence – that the challenge was outside the area, Tucker slotted home the penalty.
That goal took the attacking sting out of the visitors and it was Bideford who could have snatched the three points late on as Barker curled a free-kick inches wide and substitute Chamberlain's effort was tipped just past the post.
Joyce said: "In the first half we dropped off because we were tired but, because we were tired, it caused us more and more work. In the second half, we got in and around them and that is what we are good at. I thought for the last 25 minutes – apart from their set-pieces – we looked like the only team going to win it."
Bideford (4-3-3): Kyle Moore; Nick Milton, Ed Palmer (Ian Simpson 35), Danny Harrison, Nick Barker; Sean Downing, Matt Bye, Richard Groves (Angus Wilson 65); Billy Tucker (Jamie Chamberlain 74), Matt Andrew, Kevin Squire. Subs not used: Ryan Sanders.
Goal: Tucker 65 pen.
Cirencester Town (4-1-4-1): Glyn Garner; Ellis Dunton, Ben Brown, Leigh Henry, Mark Pritchett; James Mortimer-Stones; Ross Langworthy, Matt Liddiard, Bilad Hooper, Olly Knight (Connor Thompson 67); Charlie Griffin. Subs not used: Josh Parsons, Zack Kotwica, Aiden Bennett.
Yellow cards: Pritchett, Henry.
Goal: Griffin 21.