Sean Downing’s hat-trick helped Bideford to a comfortable win in a pre-season friendly against a youthful Plymouth Argyle XI.

Sean Downing celebrates his and Bideford's second goal against Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Matt SmartSean Downing celebrates his and Bideford's second goal against Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Matt Smart

The Robins ran out 5-0 winners at the Sports Ground. Downing hassled the young backline to give them a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes, and completed his hat-trick three minutes from time.

Billy Tucker and Aaron Taylor added to the score for Bideford with two well taken goals in the second half.

There were five minutes on the clock when Downing capitalised on some miscommunication between centre back Ollie Tomlinson and keeper Oliver Sidley to roll the ball into an empty net from 18 yards.

The second came five minutes later when he took advantage of another defensive error to send a 25-yard chip over Sidey and into the back of the net.

Aaron Taylor scored for Bideford against the young Plymouth Argyle side. Picture: Matt SmartAaron Taylor scored for Bideford against the young Plymouth Argyle side. Picture: Matt Smart

The game drifted after that, but the Robins picked themselves up to put in an impressive second half display.

Tucker scored on the hour to make it 3-0, curling a left-footed shot into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Jarvis Cleal had Plymouth's best chance at the other end a few minutes later, forcing Joe Moore to make a diving save to his right as the winger fired across goal.

Taylor added a fourth in the 68th minute when he burst into the box with the ball before sending a low finish back across the onrushing Sidey.

Bideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt SmartBideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt Smart

Downing completed his hat-trick at the end of a well-worked move which saw Sam Haynes take a quick free kick down the right channel to Ian Sampson.

Sampson's ball across was met by Downing, who hit the crossbar with his first effort. The rebound fell close enough for him to poke the ball over the line.

Manager Sean Joyce said: "We knew if we did the basics right we would win and I thought we were a bit sloppy in the first half hour, but we scored two goals.

"In the second half we had a bit more purpose about us.

Charlie Lawrence bears down on goal against Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Matt SmartCharlie Lawrence bears down on goal against Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Matt Smart

"We're not getting ahead of ourselves as it was a team of apprentices and a couple of first and second year pros.

"We're a good little squad now, with 18 or 19 lads all of similar ability, and we brought on lads today who looked just as strong as what we were taking off."

Bideford travel to Bridgwater Town on Tuesday night.

Bideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt SmartBideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt Smart

Bideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt SmartBideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt Smart

Bideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt SmartBideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt Smart

Bideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt SmartBideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt Smart

Bideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt SmartBideford in action against a young Plymouth Argyle XI at the Sports Ground. Picture: Matt Smart

Craig Duff in action for Bideford in action against Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Matt SmartCraig Duff in action for Bideford in action against Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Matt Smart

Sean Downing gets Bideford off the mark against Plymouth Argyle.  Picture: Matt SmartSean Downing gets Bideford off the mark against Plymouth Argyle. Picture: Matt Smart