Paulton Rovers 0 Bideford AFC 1: A penalty from Bideford’s Ryan Turner was enough to separate the teams in a game that saw little quality from either side.
From the off, both teams struggled to settle down and the early minutes were plagued with misplaced passes and several bouts of head tennis!
Although the game was lively, neither keeper was tested for the first fifteen minutes and it took a Rovers free-kick to get the first real action. Martin Lenihan launched the ball into the box and Joe Morgan connected sweetly with the ball but his header flew just over the bar.
The chance launched a period where Rovers took some control of the game although they struggled to create a chance from open play. In the 24th minute, another Lenihan free-kick was met in the box, this time by Dan Restorick, but his headed attempt was wide of the post. The hosts also had a series of corners in quick succession but were unable to really test Adam Seedhouse Evans in the Bideford goal.
As the half neared its end, Bideford had started to get back into the game with Alex Byrne forcing a save from Robert Brown in the Rovers goal. Brown had been brought into the team very late in the day to cover for the injured Sam Jepson. The last few minutes saw Bideford with their best chance as, from a cross, Ryan Turner headed just wide when it seemed that couldn’t miss. The home support let out a sigh of relief!
The second half began with a couple of half chances for Rovers. Firstly Joe Morgan got a shot away inside the box but it was weak and an easy stop for the keeper. Two minutes later, a smart run by Kye Simpson gave him the chance to cross but the ball was cleared for a throw-in before a home player could connect.
But Bideford also saw chances go begging. Archie Reay headed wide from a free-kick and Robert Brown did well to prevent a long range strike from Finn Roberts hitting the back of the net.
The decisive moment came in the 62nd minute. A long hopeful pass out of defence from Bideford saw Ryan Turner just pip Robert Brown to the ball just inside the area and in his attempt to punch the ball away, the keeper took the striker down. Brown protested that he had got to the ball first but the referee was unmoved and pointed to the spot. Turner brushed himself off and converted the penalty himself, sending Brown the wrong way.
Minutes later, Brown atoned for his unfortunate mistake but pulling of a great save to prevent the hosts from going two down. With Rovers still struggling to create anything meaningful from open play, a glimmer of hope came in the 69th minute when Bideford’s Charlie Madden was given a second yellow card and sent off.
As so often happens in these cases, the eleven men couldn’t breakdown the ten. Despite having the majority of the possession, Rovers just could not find a way to open up the stubborn Bideford defence and, as with the game as a whole, a set piece looked to be the best chance of getting an equaliser.
In the 75th minute, Jemar South-Thomas and Dan McBeam replaced Toby Stephens and Martin Lenihan which added some impetus and a little trickery into the Rovers play. But despite this, the home side were unable to create a clear cut chance to test the keeper.
It was a disappointing performance especially coming off the back of a good win over Hamworthy last week.