Bideford v Taunton Town: Peacocks move a step closer to title after ousting the Robins
PUBLISHED: 18:09 02 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:09 02 April 2018
Taunton Town moved a step closer to clinching the Evo-Stik League South West title with a win over Bideford this afternoon (Monday).
The Peacocks, who sealed automatic promotion two days ago with a win over Kidlington, beat the Robins 1-0 at the Sports Ground.
Matt Wright scored the decisive goal in a scrappy game, capitalising on a mistake by Steve Oliver to turn the ball in with 18 minutes remaining.
The Bideford keeper had kept the visitors at bay for the most part, but after stopping an Ollie Chamberlain header in its tracks, he pushed it out into the path of the centre forward for the striker to fire home.
Now lying 10th in the league, the Robins push for a playoff place appears to be falling short after the result, coupled with Friday’s 3-0 defeat at Evesham United.
Had it not been for the tireless efforts of a group of the club’s volunteers to make the Sports Ground pitch playable, Bideford may have been forced to add another game to their backlog of fixtures.
When the game got underway it didn’t take long for Taunton to threaten the Bideford goal, and had it not been for some last-gasp defending, they would have found themselves ahead on six minutes.
Chamberlain’s cross from the right found Nuno Felix unmarked on the other side of the penalty, but the wing-back’s free header back across Oliver bounced off the bar. Dan Sullivan picked up the pieces, but his shot at goal was cut off en-masse by the keeper, Craig Allan and Dan Harrison.
Four minutes later Sullivan was able to play in Mitchell on the right this time, but his ball across the box got the slightest of touches from Ian Sampson to avoid any danger.
It was midway through the first half before the Robins had their first proper sight at goal, with Ryan Turner drawing a save from Lloyd Irish with a side-footed shot back across goal.
The game threatened to boil over after half an hour when Max Smallcombe and Chamberlain both went full-throttle into a 50-50 challenge. The initial challenge was never penalised, but captains Wright and Matt Bye were both booked after all 22 players had their say on the collision.
The Robins changed their shape after the break, switching to a back three and using Josh Key and Ben Wood as wing-backs.
They had their golden chance on the hour, with Turner again finding room for a shot at goal after Downing’s reverse pass. This time the forward beat Irish with his effort across goal, but the ball drifted wide of the far post.
Had it gone in, the Robins may well have walked away with all three points - instead it was Wright getting the all-important goal less than 15 minutes later.
Again it was Sullivan who caused the problems, getting into space down the left and beating Josh Key to send a cross into the area. Chamberlain thundered a header at goal which Oliver saved well, only to push back out into the penalty area and into the path of the Taunton captain, who fired in from the corner of the six-yard box.
Bideford attempted to rectify the damage, and plugged away into stoppage time. Ian Sampson almost rescued a point in the sixth minute of extras, but after finding some space in the box for a shot, he fired over the bar.
Bideford: Oliver, Sampson, Reed (Western 73), Downing, Allan, Harrison, Bye, Smallcombe (Seymour 62), Squire (Wood 57), Turner, Key. Subs not used: Mayne, Hancox.
Taunton Town: Irish, Mitchell, Felix, Adlesbury (Down 77), Emerson, White, Nelmes, Brett, Wright, Sullivan (Afful 85), Chamberlain. Subs not used: Randall, Sow, Buse.