Tuesday, March 5, 2013
AFTER holding title contenders Stourbridge for most of the game, a final push for victory proved Bideford’s downfall on Saturday.
Drawing 1-1 with 12 minutes to go, Bideford introduced a trio of substitutions in a bid for glory.
But as the Robins pushed forward they were twice caught out by home striker Luke Benbow, who netted in the 87th and 89th minutes to secure a 3-1 victory for the West Midlanders.
It was harsh reward for the Robins, who were worthy of a least a point from what was always going to be a tough encounter.
Stourbridge, who have a reputation for coming out of the stalls quickly, had probably the better of the opening half.
But they did not cause undue problems in front of goal and the sides changed ends in stalemate.
It remained goalless for 70 minutes, until a controversial penalty decision was given against Bideford defender Jack Furzer for handling, which he adamantly denied.
Sean Geddes stepped up to put Stourbridge in front from the spot.
But this served to stir Bideford to greater efforts and they were rewarded 10 minutes later when a corner by Connor Clifford found winger Sean Downing again in the right place at the right time to head home his 14th league goal of the campaign. With time running out, Bideford boss Sean Joyce went for broke.
Matt Bye, Kevin Squire and Jack Furzer were replaced by Richard Groves, Ellis Laight and Ben Wood in the hope that fresh legs might grab the matchwinner.
But, as the Robins pushed forward, Stourbridge managed to find some gaps at the back and Benbow was then quick to take advantage.
Bideford have lost their right back James Richards, who has gone to Australia, where he is joining the Perth Glory team.
The Robins now have three more away games in a week.
They were due to travel to Arlesey last night (Tuesday) and on Saturday have a trip to the Premier Division’s basement team Kettering.
Next Tuesday they are due to visit Plymouth Parkway in the Devon St Luke’s Bowl following the Plymouth side’s win over Tavistock.