Robins party on

Joseph Bulmer

Third straight league win gives Bideford the perfect start to 2011

BIDEFORD broke into 2011 with a scintillating third straight win in the Zamaretto Southern League.

Monday’s 3-2 victory at Taunton Town wrapped up a successful assault on the Christmas fixture list that saw the Robins climb five places in the Division One South and West table to seventh.

It all started with a 3-1 win at Wimborne Town on December 14.

Then on Thursday, goals by Matt Bye, Matt Hockley and Sean Downing gave Bideford a 3-1 win in the re-arranged fixture against Clevedon Town at the Sports Ground.

And there were to be no New Year hangovers when Sean Joyce’s side squared up against Taunton four days later.

Matt Andrew silenced the crowd of 285 – the largest at Wordsworth Drive this season – with a deflected opening goal on seven minutes

Front man Kevin Squire doubled the advantage on 37 minutes after Steve Orchard broke down the left and split the defence with a precise pass.

But a minute later, the Peacocks strutted some stuff of their own and hauled a goal back through Craig Veal after a mix-up between keeper Matt Armstrog-Ford and debut defender Josh Ford.

Two minutes before half time, Bideford’s former Western League rivals grabbed a second through Alexis Piper to go in all square at the break.

Despite the disappointment, Bideford started strongly in the second half and were rewarded almost instantly when the unfortunate Phil Veal diverted a short-worked corner kick into his own net on 47 minutes.

The Robins kept the pressure on the hosts and played spells of attacking positive football in a bid to extend their lead.

Efforts by Orchard and Matt Hockley were well saved by keeper Chris Astley and Squire was unlucky to put a good effort just the wrong side of the post.

Taunton threatened Armstrong-Ford’s goal on only a few rare occasions but the on-loan Exeter City man still managed to play an important role in one of the game’s big talking points.

The keeper was harshly sent off for the slightest of shoves on Taunton substitute Ross MacNab with eight minutes left to play.

Defender Nick Barker donned the gloves and kept a clean sheet to see out the remainder of the match.

Bideford are without a game this Saturday but will play Witheridge in the re-arranged Devon St Luke’s Bowl tie on Tuesday night.