Leaders fall to resurgent Robins
17:16 11 December 2012
League leaders Hemel Hempstead were the latest to fall as resurgent Bideford took their tally to 10 points from their last four Premier Divisionmatches.
The Robins’ 3-2 win at the Sports Ground was their best performance of the season so far and all the more remarkable as they played the entire second half with only 10 men after influential defender Dominic Rivans was sent off just before half-time.
The win continues their climb up the league table, with seven teams now sitting below them - and only eight points off a play-off place!
It was the visitors who struck first, Dave Pearce breaking free to put them ahead after 16 minutes.
But Bideford were back on terms after half-an-hour when Hemel failed to clear a corner from Richard Groves and Kevin Squire pounced to volley into the roof of the net.
Loss of Rivans for alleged use of an elbow in an aerial challenge only spurred the Robins on.
Groves hit a fine shot from the edge of the box to put them in front soon after the break and midway through the half Squire struck again, heading home after Sean Downing beat visiting keeper Sam Beagle in the air.
Hemel piled on the pressure in the closing stages and pulled one back through substitute Joe Bruce, but their further efforts were foiled by a resolute home defence.
Hemel were themselves reduced to 10 men in the closing minutes when David King was sent off after receving his second yellow card.
Bideford now turn their attentions to arguably title favourites Leamington, who have lost only one game in 15.
When they travel there on Saturday the Robins will miss Richard Groves, who is suspended for totting up too many bookings.
Rivans could also now be facing suspension after his sending off, although there are those who argue the incident was a clash of heads rather than use of an elbow.