Bideford make FA Cup progress

Joseph Bulmer

Robins come from behind to reap rewards in famous old competition

BIDEFORD’S reward for making FA Cup progress on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Bridgwater is a tricky second qualifying round tie away to Hartley Witney of Hampshire.

On paper the Combined Counties opponents are two levels below the Robins, but they are unbeaten this term, including a surprise 1-0 win over Southern Counties Premier side Bashley in their last FA Cup round.

Bideford chairman Roy Portch said: “The draw gives us a chance to make further progress. But they are unbeaten after seven matches and we certainly cannot go up there thinking it is a ‘give me.’”

Bideford fell behind early against Bridgwater, when Simon Lyons shot through a crowded penalty area.

But Sean Downing came to their rescue with a double strike to take the victory. He netted the equaliser five minutes before the interval, breaking forward and firing home from just inside the penalty area.

The winner came after 80 minutes when Downing met a Matt Bye corner to head home his second.

Bideford just missed out on a late third when substitute Richard Groves saw his stoppage time shot tipped over by the visiting keeper.

The Robins are without a game this weekend as scheduled opponents Andover have pulled out of the league.

But this will enable centre half Alex Jeannin to rest a hamstring injury before the FA Cup game, which will take place on October 1. Jeannin was substituted on Saturday, his place filled by Dominic Rivans.

Bideford is organising a bus for supporters to go to the FA Cup match and anyone interested is asked to contact the club.