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Midfield battle ends even

18:55 26 February 2013

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Archant

HONOURS ended even in a midfield battle at the Sports Ground as Bideford and St Neot’s Town shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw.

Two hard working sides were contained by the other’s midfielders on a bitterly cold afternoon.

St Neot’s took the game to Bideford from the kick-off and Dubai Ogbanna forced Tim Sandercombe to pull off two good saves and the St Neot’s man also hit the up-right in the first half hour.

The visitors’ Ben Mackey also had a shot cleared off the line by Bideford wing back Ian Sampson.

But as the half drew to a close, Bideford started to threaten and shots Rob Farkins and Sean Downing both drew saves from St Neot’s keeper Jack Gidden.

Ogbanna again struck the up-right for the visitors early in the second half and team mate Ryan Auger saw a shot go wide off the same post.

The game became a midfield stalemate until, after three substitutions, Bideford burst into life. In the final two minutes Downing had a shot agonisingly close to the outside of the post and another shot well saved by Giddens. Skipper Matt Hockley also had a blockbuster of a shot blocked on the line and Ellis Laight just failed to put away the intercepted clearance.

A minute into stoppage time Mackay broke clear for St Neot’s, but his golden opportunity to win all three points was lost with a shot that went wide.

The draw will be a satisfying one against a side who raced 4-0 ahead by half-time before beating the Robins 5-3 in their previous encounter in November.

But it is a different Bideford nowadays.

Following a 3-0 midweek win over Bedworth Town with goals by skipper Matt Hockley (2) – one from the penalty spot - and Matt Andrew this takes their record to just one defeat in their past seven games.

After a tough baptism, the Robins have now earned their spurs as a Southern League Premier Division club, with their latest four points in five days haul keeping them in touch with the league’s middle order.

But the Robins must dig in for a tough period, opening with the visit of promotion-seeking Cambridge City last night (Tuesday) before a run of away games, starting on Saturday with a trip to third-placed Stourbridge, with whom they drew 2-2 back in October.

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