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Unbeaten Robins warming for the challenge ahead

17:20 31 July 2012

© Royalty-Free/Corbis

© Royalty-Free/Corbis

© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

BIDEFORD continued their pre-season campaign in fine style, with a 5-2 midweek win away to local rivals Barnstaple followed by a 2-2 draw at home to Dorchester from the Blue Square League.

It brings the Robins’ pre-season record to five matches unbeaten, including two creditable draws against higher Blue Square opposition, as they warm to their task of Southern league Premier Division football this term.

While manager Sean Joyce has made it known that he is not too worried about pre-season results, there is satisfaction that his team has not been rolled over by anyone.

A full Dorchester first team gave the Robins a good test on Saturday and they stepped up to the mark in style.

Matt Andrew stung the Dorset side after only 14 minutes when he picked the ball up in his own half and ran through the visitors’ defence to slot home the opening goal.

A defensive slip let Sam Malsom through for the visitors after 28 minutes for the equaliser and the sides changed ends at 1-1.

A blockbuster strike from Ben Watson put Dorchester in front just before the hour.

Bideford came back again through young triallist George Swain from Bude, who had only joined the squad a few days before, and came on as one of five second-half substitutes.

The youngster latched on to a ball knocked down by striker Kevin Squire and beat two defenders to put away the 73rd minute equaliser.

Midweek at Mill Road, the Robins went 2-0 up in their derby with Barnstaple. Ellis Laight tapped in from a Kevin Squire set-up after just two minutes and added a second with a fierce shot from the edge of the area after being fed by Sean Downing.

But Barnstaple were up for the challenge and right on half-time pulled a goal back with a lob over the keeper by Danny Jenkins.

He is building up a good relationship with fellow striker Danny Bassett - both remaining from last season’s Barnstaple squad - and it was Bassett who finished off a good move for the second goal to put Town back on terms.

But the final quarter saw Bideford pull away with three more goals. Andy Robinson, on trial from Bridgwater, set up Kevin Squire for the first, Sean Downing squared for Sam Sawyer to stab home the second and the Robinson-Squire combination paid off again as Squire volleyed home the last.

Bideford continued their pre-season at home to Bodmin last night (Tuesday) and take on Torquay United at the Sports Ground on Friday night.

Next Tuesday comes their testimonial for long term manager Sean Joyce, featuring former players who achieved milestone appearances for the club.

Then come two more friendlies against Merthyr Tydfil and Gloucester City before their first season in the Southern League Premier Division starts on August 18 away to Bedworth Utd, followed by a tough home tie with Gosport Borough on August 21.

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