Bideford’s play-off dreams were kept alive thanks to a late penalty to give them a 2-1 victory at Thatcham Town in the Evo-Stik Division One South on Saturday.
After a goalless first half, the Robins took the lead in the 72nd minute thanks to Ryan Turner who scored his 20th goal of the season. Billy Tucker provided the chance as his free kick found the forward and allowed Turner to finish off the far post with an excellent placed shot.
However, the hosts pulled one back just seven minutes later as Kyle Tooze rounded the keeper and finished into an empty net.
With the possibility of slipping nine points behind the final play-off spot, Bideford dug deep and retook the lead just three minutes before full time. Ben Palmer was pulled down in the box and Tucker buried the resultant penalty down the middle to win the game for the Robins.
To add insult to injury, Thatcham’s Curtis Angell was shown a second yellow card in injury time.
Manager Sean Joyce said: “It’s a great result considering we had a makeshift team and to get a positive result like that, it’s brilliant for the lads.
“They had a good team, they won the FA Vase last year so it proves what a good team they are. We had one chance in the first half and they only had one. We changed the shape in the second half and attacked with the wind.
“It was wind effected on a bobbly pitch and it was matter of just gutsing it out.
“A draw might have been a fair result with difficult conditions but there’s not a better way to win it than a late penalty.
“We had every excuse to lose on the day but we didn’t. We battened down the hatches, we told them we had a game plan and we stuck to the game plan. Second half we changed it to be more attacking with the winds on our backs and I just said let’s go and win it.”
With eight games left of the season, Bideford currently sit seven points behind fifth placed Evesham United however the team in the final play-off spot has played one game more.
Sean said: “We haven’t got much leeway now to lose points so we had to win to keep it interesting.
“We’ve got to attack and win every game. We haven’t got enough to have a slip-up.”
Next on the horizon for Bideford is a trip to third placed Moneyfields on Saturday (March 16).