Bideford’s hopes of a late charge towards the play-offs took a huge blow this afternoon (Saturday) with a 1-0 defeat to Cinderford Town.
Lorcam Sheenan’s close-range finish 11 minutes into the second half was the difference between the two sides at the Sports Ground.
After a cagey first half, the Robins spent much of the second half on top as they looked to reduce the deficit, but despite enjoying plenty of chances to cancel out the deficit, they were unable to find the back of the net.
The defeat means Bideford’s outside chances of staying in the play-off race are all but over, with 11 points separating them and fifth-place Winchester City with 18 points left to play for.
Bideford manager Sean Joyce brought Grant Fisher in to replace the suspended Joe Moore, but the stand-in didn’t have a great deal to do in the first half.
That was partly down to a couple of missed chances from Cinderford in the opening stages. Striker Josh Hunt shot wide across goal inside 10 minutes, and he was off target again seven minutes later after a free header at the back post drifted back across goal and out for a goal kick.
Bideford had a couple of half chances themselves, but nothing too clear cut. A Ben Carter shot from the edge of the penalty area was held by goalkeeper Alex Harris. Ryan Turner also had a shot blocked after breaking with the ball just before half time.
Fisher produced a double save to keep out efforts from Sheenan and MacDonald early in the first half, but it wasn’t long before the visitors had their goal.
Cinderford broke down the right wing, and with Fisher committed, a simple ball across goal left an easy tap in for Sheenan.
The goal forced Bideford to shift up a gear, and they soon started creating the chances that had been lacking earlier on.
A well-worked move from Billy Tucker and Sean Downing saw the former break clear. One on one, Tucker’s shot had Harris beaten but saw it skip wide of the post. The winger saw a well-struck effort from the edge of the area whizz past the post 10 minutes later.
The Robins got closer and closer without getting on the scoreboard. Substitute Kevin Squire hit the inside of the post with a shot from inside the penalty area, with the danger not cleared Jordan Ricketts sent a lob over the defence only for it to be hooked back out off the goal line.
Downing looked like he was going to rescue the Robins in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but after taking the ball past a couple of defenders, his half-volley shot past the post.
Bideford: Fisher, Sampson, Palmer, Downing, Mayne, Down, Carter (Taylor 85), Heeney, Turner (Ricketts 79), Hancox (Squire 64), Tucker. Subs not used: Reay, Haynes.
Cinderford Town: Harris, Turl, Binns, Lewis, Rhodes, Angel, Watkins, Sheenan, Hunt (Greaves 63), Harding (Waugh 63), MacDonald (Atkinson 75). Subs not used: Alderdice, Michael.