Bideford manager Sean Joyce hopes Saturday’s result against Larkhall Athletic will kick his side into life for the season ahead.

Bideford v Larkhall Athletic in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBideford v Larkhall Athletic in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

The Robins drew 1-1 in their first game of the Evo-Stik Division One South season on Saturday, with Kevin Squire’s penalty 13 minutes from time – his 100th goal for Bideford – cancelling out Lewis Powell’s first half effort.

Despite plenty of preparation for the new season in the form of 10 pre-season friendly matches, there were signs of ring rust in the first half of Saturday’s game. By the end of it, the Bideford manager was disappointed his side hadn’t taken their chances to win the game.

“It was still a pre-season game really. We do all the shape and tactics and we go out in the first game and it turned into a scrap,” said Joyce.

“We’ve done well to get back into it, but if you’re a ruthless team that wants to be in and around the playoffs, we’ve had two or three good chances there to finish it off, and we haven’t.

Bideford v Larkhall Athletic in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBideford v Larkhall Athletic in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

“I thought in the first half we looked rudderless, we didn’t know what shape, three or four lads looked frightened to death because it’s not a nice pre-season friendly now. Today was a proper game, they’ve got to grow up quick.

“They’re probably one of the better teams to play against to give us that kick to get us going.

“We didn’t want to go a goal down because they’re good at defending, good at spoiling things, just waiting for that one chance to come.

“Luckily we turned it around in the second half to be a better team, get a bit of shape and pattern and direction and we looked a different team.

“It’s not good enough drawing 1-1 against Larkhall on the first game of the season. We softened them up for the last 10-15 and we just couldn’t get it.”

Bideford have their first away game of the new season on Tuesday night, when they take on Yate Town.

Next Saturday sees them in action against Bristol Manor Farm in the preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup before the North Devon derby against Barnstaple Town on Bank Holiday Monday.

“Manor Farm have thrown money at trying to win the league, so that’s probably one of the hardest draws we could get at this time,” said Joyce.

“It’s a tough draw for us but we’ll get this right and we’ll have a bit more fire in our bellies in the first half than we did on Saturday.”