Goals galore but no reward for Robins

Joseph Bulmer

Free-scoring Bideford need to forget about February and spring into March

DESPITE scoring nine goals in their past three nailbiting encounters, Bideford have still failed to break their February duck.

Thrilling for the spectators, but frustrating for the team, the Robins’ winless streak was stretched to seven games when they went down 4-3 at home to promotion-chasing Mangotsfield in the Zamaretto league on Saturday.

This followed an exciting midweek clash with a strong Plymouth Argyle squad in the Devon St Luke’s Cup, in which the Robins again came close, but not close enough, drawing 2-2 only to miss out 4-1 on penalties.

A frantic first half on Saturday was full of defensive errors from both teams and the nets were stretched six times before the break.

Bideford started on the back foot and fell behind after only five minutes when the visitors found plenty of space and Kyle Tooze scored despite a valiant effort from keeper Matt Armstrong-Ford.

With the game still only 10 minutes old the Robins were two down when an outstretched Armstrong-Ford was unable to clear the ball cleanly following a free kick into the box, allowing Mangotsfield right back Jemal Williams a strike into an unguarded net.

The Robins were rewarded for a good build-up down the right between Sean Downing and Kevin Squire on 15 minutes, which ended with Squire rounding the defence to the back post for a simple tap in.

But Mangotsfield continued to make most of the play with some probing balls through the home defence and they extended their lead again on 33 minutes when a ball in from the left found Mitchell Page unmarked to slot in a close range shot.

After going close on a couple of occasions, David Pearse finally gained his reward with a second goal for Bideford on 41 minutes, showing a cool head to carefully place his shot out of reach of the visiting keeper for his fourth goal in four games.

Mangotsfield had the last say before the break, however, with a good build up across the width of the pitch culminating in a slamming shot by Tom Knighton for a 4-2 interval lead.

The second half was more composed, with tighter play at the back from both teams. Pearse had a chance or two early on, without finding the target. But when he was bundled over in the penalty area Matt Hockley stepped up to score from the spot.

With the score at 3-4, Bideford battled to for the draw, but it never came.

The Mangotsfield defence was now tight and never gave another opportunity, while the Bideford keeper was called on for a couple of smart saves to prevent the visitors from extending their lead.

Bideford will be in league action again on Saturday away to Stourbridge Swifts, who provided them with their only February point in a 1-1 draw at the Sports Ground.