BIDEFORD came back from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw against Thatcham in the Zamaretto Southern League on Saturday. The Robins, without injured striker Jamie Mudge for the second week in a row, had returning midfielder Steve Orchard to thank for a 38th

BIDEFORD came back from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw against Thatcham in the Zamaretto Southern League on Saturday.

The Robins, without injured striker Jamie Mudge for the second week in a row, had returning midfielder Steve Orchard to thank for a 38th minute equaliser.

Orchard, making his second start since re-signing for the club following spells at Bridgwater Town and Weston-super-Mare, played a neat one-two with Ben Wood on the edge of the Thatcham box before finding himself in the clear with only keeper Paul Strudley to beat.

Thatcham, who started the match in 18th position in the table, began brightly despite a punishing 170-mile drive from West Berkshire.

Bideford had given Strudley work to do in the early exchanges but the visitors were already threatening at the other end before they took the lead through Australian midfielder Paul Orgad. The Aussie, making his first start for the club, got on the end of Graham Lewis' cross to fire past keeper Matt Armstrong-Ford.

As the game headed towards half-time, end-to-end football and sunny late summer conditions at the Sports Ground gave a crowd of around 170 supporters plenty to enjoy well before Orchard scrumped his equaliser.

In the second half, Thatcham started well again and Armstrong-Ford had to back-pedal to get his fingertips to Orgad's looping effort.

Bideford always looked dangerous on the break however, and Ellis Laight was denied a goal as Strudley saved his downward header.

Man-of-the-match Ograd produced another save from Armstrong-Ford with an edge-of-the-box shot but in the end both teams took a share of the points.

Last night (Tuesday), Bideford were set to travel to Truro City in the first round qualifier of the Red Insure League Cup. A win would pit them against Tiverton in the first round.

The Robins are away to bottom club Bridgwater Town in the league on Saturday.