Small steps of hope for Bideford and Barnstaple

North Devon Gazette

Bideford produced one of their performances of the season to earn a deserved point at promotion-chasing Sholing in the Southern League.Â

The Robins suffered a disappointing defeat to Willand Rovers on New Year’s Day and were rocked again on the South coast, falling behind inside ten minutes, when Stuart Green found a gap in the Biddy defence to fire a confident low finish beyond Adam Seedhouse Evans.Â

Despite that setback, Bideford settled into the game, with debutant Alex Moyse excellent in midfield and Javan Wright lashed a shot narrowly over on 25 minutes. Home custodian Ryan Gosney was then forced into a good save to deny Theo Simpson.Â

Seedhouse Evans was equally impressive at the other end but the momentum was generally in Bideford’s favour, with Kai Fisher hitting the side-netting.Â

The equaliser did finally arrive four minutes before the interval, when a long throw was flicked on by George Nancekivell and Simpson did the honours on the rebound after his initial shot had been saved.Â

Sholing, who are fifth in the table, failed to improve after the break, but this was down to the discipline and focus within Bideford ranks. In fact, the Robins probably had the best chance to win it but Moyse’s pass for Mattie Buchan was just off target with the substitute in a great position.Â

The Robins host mid-table Highworth Town this weekend.Â

A new era at Barnstaple Town began with a 4-2 defeat at home fourth-placed Winchester City, although there were plenty of positives in the performance to cheer manager Craig Laird in his first game at the helm.Â

Barum also had five new signings in their starting line-up and it will take time things to gel, as the visitors surged into an early 2-0 lead.Â

Barnstaple got one back with a fabulous strike from Ryan Keates but Warren Bentley quickly restored the two-goal cushion for Winchester. Michael Humphries made it 3-2 on the half-hour and it stayed that way until City sealed the points with a fourth on 84 minutes. Â

This weekend is massive for Barum, as they travel to Cinderford Town, the side one place above them at the bottom of the table. Â