Massive Barum victory and dramatic Bideford draw

North Devon Gazette

Ahead of a tough midweek trip to Plymouth Parkway, Barnstaple Town gave their Southern League survival hopes a boost with a crucial 2-1 defeat of Mangotsfield United.Â

Sporting a yellow and blue kit in support of Ukraine, Barum’s best effort in a tense first period came from a Craig Laird shot, comfortably saved by visiting ‘keeper Marko Radovanovic.Â

Harry Baker was also denied by Radovanovic, while Mangotsfield had a goal ruled out for offside as the game entered half-time all square.Â

Barnstaple emerged from the break with terrific energy and got their reward on 52 minutes, when a handball from Baker’s cross resulted in a clear penalty. Owen Howe held his nerve to score from the spot.Â

Barum kept up their positive momentum and were awarded a second penalty midway through the half. This time, Howe’s effort was saved but he reacted first to slam home the rebound.Â

Joe Beardwell managed an injury-time consolation for Mangotsfield but it was maximum points for Barnstaple Town, who have now closed the gap to just five points behind Cinderford Town.Â

It was a case of last-minute drama for Bideford, as George Nancekivell rescued a deserved point at Melksham Town.Â

The home side started the brighter, with Ben Wood shooting narrowly wide and then Jay Malshanskyj managed to evade goalkeeper Adam Seedhouse Evans, but James Mayne read the danger to make a superb goalline clearance.Â

Bideford stayed in the game until the hour, falling behind to a highly contentious penalty. Albert Hopkins went down in the box and the contact was minimal, at best. Luke Bellinger scored the penalty for Melksham.Â

Biddy frustration only deepened when they were denied a penalty of their own after a clear handball stopped a goalbound effort from Joe Charles.Â

On 74 minutes, Bideford got their equalising goal, Javan Wright fizzing a brilliant 25-yard strike into the corner. Melksham responded with a super goal of their own from Hopkins on 83 minutes.Â

Staring defeat in the face, Bideford somehow found the resolve for one last push and Nancekivell sparked wild celebrations when he nodded home the leveller from close range. Â