FA Trophy penalty shoot-out heartbreak for Bideford

Bideford AFC goalkeeper Liam Kingston. Picture: Matt Smart

Bideford AFC goalkeeper Liam Kingston. Picture: Matt Smart - Credit: Matt Smart

Bideford were left heartbroken after losing a penalty shoot-out against Evesham United to bow out of the FA Trophy.

The Robins returned to action after a seven-week break due to the latest coronavirus lockdown in England and performed admirably in the first-round tie, played in front of a crowd of 309.

Having beaten Slimbridge in their previous outing on October 17, they went close to taking the lead in the first half of a tight and cagey contest when Lewis Wilson hit the foot of a post.

But the home side replied with Harry Franklin sending a shot just wide from the edge of the box.

Wilson went close again for Bideford, before Ryan Paddock’s header at the far post from an Evesham corner was also off target.

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And the scoreline remained blank until 12 minutes from time when the hosts broke the deadlock with a contentious penalty decision.

Jordan Lymn’s cross found Franklin, who went down after mis-hitting a shot and was adjudged to have been fouled by Bideford goalkeeper Liam Kingston.

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Jamie Lucas sent Kingston the wrong way from the spot to put Evesham ahead but Bideford refused to throw in the towel and got back on level terms with just two minutes remaining.

A free-kick into the box was headed across goal by Toby Down for Aaron Taylor to send a header of his own against the crossbar, with Wilson on hand to volley home the rebound.

The tie then went to a shoot-out and when Kingston tipped Lorcan Sheehan’s effort onto a post it looked to be going in Bideford’s favour.

But Charlie Lawrence hit the crossbar with the very next attempt and James Mayne saw his spot-kick saved by Lewis Clayton, allowing Paddock to win it for Evesham.

Bideford must now wait for their next fixture, after Southern League clubs – along with those in the Northern and Isthmian Leagues – voted to keep their season on hold due to the pandemic.

Despite the lifting of the national lockdown on December 2, the subsequent tier system put in place has produced challenges and issues for some.

Clubs were asked to vote on a proposal to pause fixtures in light of further changes and/or grants becoming available, with the next review no later than December 16.

And a statement released by the leagues said votes cast by 224 clubs showed a substantial nunmber agreed with the proposition, with a further statement to be issued in due course.

Bideford: Kingston, Taylor, Mayne, Down, Byrne, Charles, Nancekivell, Heeney, Wood, Wilson, Carter. Subs: Turner, Smallcombe, Middleton, Lawrence.

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