Bideford’s troubles on the road continue at Slimbridge

Sean Downing was on target for Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

Sean Downing was on target for Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart - Credit: Matt Smart

Bideford’s struggles away from home continued on Saturday with a defeat at Slimbridge in BetVictor Division One South.

The Robins have not had much joy at Thornhill Park since 2017 - they had not won or drawn there in three attempts going into Saturday's match.

The wait will carry into next season after a 2-1 defeat this time out.

Sean Downing returned to the starting line-up and gave Bideford the lead in his first start of the season with a goal eight minutes before half time - but he was forced off the field shortly after when he tweaked his knee.

The hosts were able to haul themselves level before the break though, with Ioan Richards netting in the third minute of stoppage time.

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Jack Horrell got what proved to be the winning goal for Slimbridge seven minutes from time.

The result leaves Bideford still looking for their first win of the season away from home - they have drawn one and lost three of their first four trips out of North Devon.

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Bideford manager Sean Joyce said: "It's a difficult place to go, and they are on a good run at the moment.

"We played well though and it was a case of another week, another goalkeeper being man of the match.

"He pulled a great save from Ryan Turner and then two minutes later they've hit one from 25 yards and it's a great goal.

"We dominated in the first half and hardly gave a chance away, but then we don't deal with a corner in the 47th minute and it's 1-1 at half-time.

"We managed to get on top again in the second half but it just wouldn't go in."

It looked like everything was clicking for Bideford after last week's win over Totton. Since then the Robins have seen Downing forced off again, Jack Rice-Lethaby return to Taunton Town and fan favourite Billy Tucker bidding farewell to Bideford in favour of Helston Athletic in the South West Peninsula League.

Joyce admitted losing Billy to the Cornish high-fliers was a shock.

"It's a strange move but I think we all know why," said Joyce.

"He loves playing for Bideford and playing with his mates, and now he's travelling six hours to play two leagues lower.

"I think the world of Billy, and the door is always open for him.

"I want my players to come and play for Bideford and look to go higher - play as high as you can for as long as you can.

"I've got no problem whatsoever with players leaving to play at a higher level.

"We must be doing something right if other managers want our players. They've got good names for themselves and managers know they will give 100 per cent - it's a massive compliment to us."

Bideford travel to Frome Town in the preliminary round of the Buildbase FA Trophy this Saturday.

They are back at the Sports Ground on Tuesday evening, with Bristol Manor Farm the visitors.

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