Robins on top of the Christmas table

Joseph Bulmer

Bideford overcome title rivals Thatcham with 1-0 win.

MATT Andrew marked his return from suspension with the only goal of the match as Bideford beat fellow contenders Thatcham on Saturday to ensure their place at the top of the Christmas table in the Evo-Stik Southern First Division.

His matchwinning goal came after only eight minutes following a long throw by Ben Wood, which was flicked on by Sean Downing.

There was little to choose between the sides in this top of the table encounter at the Sports Ground.

Bideford were indebted to new goalkeeper Grant Fisher for a fine performance and to stalwart defenders Aaron Harper-Penman and Jack Furzer for keeping them in front as Thatcham, with the wind at their backs, pressed for an equaliser in the second half.

The Robins could have increased their lead late in the game, but Kevin Squire’s goalbound header was just reached by visiting keeper by Paul Strudley.

Unbeaten in 11 games, Bideford are back in league action away to Taunton on Boxing Day.