Bideford picked up their third straight win to climb to second in the Evo-Stik League South West table on Saturday.
Craig Duff scored twice as Bideford picked up a third straight win to climb to second in the Evo-Stik League South West table on Saturday.
The Robins were in front twice and left it late to bag a satisfying win at Winchester City for Sean Joyce’s side.
The day had started badly for Joyce, who took a call from flu-ridden centre-half James Mayne just an hour before the coach was set to leave Bideford.
Fellow centre-half Dan Harrison made the trip to Hampshire but limped off with a tight hamstring after 10 minutes.
He was replaced by Sean Downing, who made an able switch from his usual position on the right wing to fill the gap.
Despite the changes, Bideford looked the better of the two sides in the opening half hour and took the lead on 31 minutes, Ben Seymour tucking away Ben Wood’s low ball into the box.
Winchester were level at the break when the unfortunate Ian Sampson turned the ball into his own net.
But just 20 seconds after the re-start, Duff regained the lead for Bideford when he drove at the Winchester defence, before bending his shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Joyce had ‘no complaints’ about a penalty awarded to The Citizens after Rob Carr was brought down by Craig Allan with 15 minutes to go. But Steve Oliver saved well to deny the hosts the chance to make it 2-2.
The equaliser did come three minutes later when Olly Bailey rounded Oliver and slid the ball home.
But Bideford were soon back on top when Matt Bye’s cross from the right found Duff, who out- jumped two defenders to head home from six yards with seven minutes left on the clock.
“It was a bit helter-skelter but a very satisfying win,” said Joyce.
“We’re in the promotion places now and we’re probably over-achieving; but we’ve lost just one in the last 10 now and we’ll keep going and take one game at a time.”
Bideford were in action last night, at home to Stoke Gabriel in the first round of the Devon St Luke’s Challenge Cup.
On Saturday, they’ll face a tough test at promotion-chasing Salisbury in the league.
“It’ll be a tough one,” said Joyce. “They are the big spenders and are favourites to go up but we’ll go down there and give a good account of ourselves.”