Bideford v Bishops Cleeve: Late Sean Downing header rescues three points for Robins
PUBLISHED: 18:33 06 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:33 06 January 2018
Late header gives Robins all three points in Saturday’s Evo-Stik League South West fixture at the Sports Ground
A 90th minute header from Sean Downing spared Bideford a few blushes against bottom-of-the-league Bishops Cleeve in Evo-Stik League South West this afternoon (Saturday).
Downing rose highest to nod in a Billy Tucker free-kick as the game moved into injury time, giving the Robins their first win in five and ensuring they start 2018 with three points.
The goal was a heartbreaker for the visitors, who repelled plenty of pressure from Bideford throughout the match, denied them from the penalty spot, and enjoyed chances to get a goal for their first away win of the season.
The result moves the Robins back up to eighth in League South West, with games in hand on those above them.
The home side laid siege to the Bishops Cleeve goal early on and by the time they were given a penalty in the 14th minute they had already had chances to take the lead.
Ben Seymour stepped up to take the kick after he was brought down by Olly Butler in the box, but his effort to Sam Gilder’s left was parried away by the Cleeve keeper.
Seymour had looked dangerous from the off, and had already forced Gilder into a save minutes earlier, as well as skewing a shot just wide of the post.
The visitors’ forays towards the Bideford goal were few and far between in the first half, with Steve Oliver not having a great deal to do, but when needed he saved well from James McCarthey after the midfielder burst through.
The Robins applied more pressure after the break but couldn’t steer their efforts on target. Ryan Turner dragged one wide from inside the box, followed a few minutes later by Craig Duff.
Manager Sean Joyce showed his intent by bringing on Billy Tucker, Dan Western and Kevin Squire as the half wore on, and with more attacking players on the pitch for the Robins, the game began to open up for the visitors.
Jack Watts, who terrorised the Bideford defence as the second half developed, almost gave Cleeve the lead with 15 minutes remaining. With the visitors on the counter-attack, Watts got the ball from Joe Bates before cutting in and beating Oliver with his shot, only to see it cannon off the bar.
Western managed to settle things down in midfield for the Robins, and produced a perfect pass into the box for Ian Sampson, who saw two efforts at goal blocked.
It looked for all the world like Bideford would have to settle for a point, but when Downing was brought down out wide, Tucker sent in a deep in-swinging free kick for the number four to put a looping header into the net.
Bideford: Oliver, Sampson, Reed (Tucker 55), Downing, Mayne, Harrison, Bye, Carter, Duff (Squire 79), Seymour, Turner (Western 72).
Sub not used: Allan.
Bishops Cleeve: Gilder, Butler, Lock, Ford, Staten, Ireland, Bates (Iddles 83), McCarthy, Crowe (Price 73), Hands (Burton 63), Watts.