Bideford manager Sean Joyce said his side ‘thoroughly deserved’ all three points as his side struck late to beat AFC Totton 2-1 in BetVictor Division One South.

New Bideford goalkeeper Liam Kingston. Picture: Matt SmartNew Bideford goalkeeper Liam Kingston. Picture: Matt Smart

Ryan Turner turned in from close range in the 88th minute to give the Robins a 2-1 win over AFC Totton at the Sports Ground.

The striker was in the right place to knock in a blocked Billy Tucker shot and give Bideford to give the Robins their first win in September at the fifth time of asking.

Turner had opened the scoring for the Robins three minutes before half time, latching onto a reverse pass from Charlie Lawrence and firing into the bottom corner.

Oliver Bradley equalised for the visitors midway through the second half with a well-struck shot from the edge of the penalty area before Bideford rallied.

Max Smallcombe is back at Bideford. Picture: Matt SmartMax Smallcombe is back at Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

Joyce said: "We were a bit nervy in the first 20 minutes, but the first time we got it down and played a bit of football we scored a good goal.

"Then in the second half for 20 to 25 minutes it was us against their keeper really.

"Then typical Bideford, they knick one, and for a few minutes we got a bit nervy and lost our honesty, but we were brave at the end to go and win it.

"It's one we've got to win. We want to be in and around the play-offs and a draw wasn't going to help.

"I thought we thoroughly deserved it though. We've got players back, players in the right positions and competition for places. On a different day we could have won it by four or five."

Liam Kingston started in goal for the Robins in place of Joe Moore, with the former Weston-super-Mare goalkeeper making his first appearance of the season.

Returning Robin Max Smallcombe was also in the starting line-up after signing from Truro City and captain Ben Carter was back for his first league appearance since the opening-day win over Moneyfields.

On the addition of Kingston, Joyce said: "We've been letting goals in, and we've changed the back four and changed the midfield three, changed the front two and it came to a stage where I had to look at something different in goal.

"Liam's played well [on Saturday]. Apart from that goal he's swept, talked and organised and that's what keepers need to do. Joe just lost that bit of confidence because we've been a bit indifferent."

The Bideford manager was also pleased to be able to bring Smallcombe back to the Sports Ground.

The 20-year-old made 15 appearances for the Robins while on loan from Exeter City in 2017/18.

"Max was different class for us, and his positional play kept killing them," said Joyce.

"Max phoned asking to come to Bideford. He's had offers to play locally but he wants to come to Bideford because he knows I can get the best out of him and he knows that if he does the business he can push on and play higher again, whereas some lads would stay local, pick up the money and show no ambition to go higher."

Bideford are in action in the BetVictor Southern League Challenge Cup on Tuesday night, welcoming Taunton Town to the Sports Ground.

The Robins are hoping to bring Sean Downing into the side for his first appearance of the season, with the forward back in training after picking up a knee injury in the final stages of the pre-season.

Bideford travel to Slimbridge this Saturday.