Robins get all hot and bothered in Hampshire

Joseph Bulmer

Bideford feel the heat as they are knocked out of the FA Cup by lower league opposition

BIDEFORD suffered a disappointing defeat against lower league opposition in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Robins were beaten 2-1 by Hartley Witney and were left ruing referee decisions in what turned out to be a bad-tempered and scrappy afternoon in Hampshire.

Despite the gulf in leagues, the round two qualifying tie had all the makings of an upset.

Even before kick-off, the “village side” was enjoying its best ever run in the famous competition in the club’s 115-year history.

Hartley had already pulled off a shock after beating Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division side Bashley in the last round and chairman Luke Mullen was confident the club would put in “another giant killing performance”.

In his programme notes before the match, Mullen predicted the match against Bideford would be “another stern test” but said he was sure his boys would be giving it their best to upset the odds.

And so they did as Bideford failed to raise their game and ended up hot and bothered in a lack-lustre second half display.

Kevin Squire gave the North Devon side the lead five minutes before the break after goalkeeper Lee Allen failed to hold onto the ball under pressure.

Before that, Matt Andrew had a good penalty shout waved away by the referee and frustrations began to bubble away among the players and 60-odd travelling support when Squire had an effort ruled out for offside.

After the break, Jermaine Hamilton fired past Ollie Chenoweth to restore parity for the Combined Counties League Division One side two steps below Bideford in the national league system.

Hamilton scored the game’s winner from the penalty spot to set up a money-spinning third round qualifying tie away to either Frome Town or Basingstoke Town on October 15.

On Saturday, Bideford turn their attentions to the FA Trophy with the visit of Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central side Beaconsfield Sycob in the preliminary round tie at the Sports Ground.

On Tuesday night, Bideford are at home to Clevedon Town in what will be the Robins’ first league fixture since a 3-0 win at Wimborne Town on September 13.