PAULTON Rovers earned a vital point after dominating the number of chances

created against a resolute Bideford in a goalless draw in North Devon, .

The opening ten minutes of the game saw Bideford have most of the

possession, creating a couple of half chances that were comfortable for

Frankie Phillips to hold. It was the last time that the hosts truly

threatened the Rovers goal as the visitors started to get a foothold in

the game.

In the 12th minute, there was an early blow for Rovers though as Aaron

Parsons was forced off due to injury. He was replaced by Jack Dancey who

was making his return to the side after three months on the sidelines.

Moments later the first of many chances came as Neil Martin and Ed

Butcher combined well down the left. The resulting cross from Butcher

was cut out just before Jamarni Langlais could tap home.

In the 17th minute, an almost carbon copy move resulted in another

chance for Langlais but his header looped over the bar. Butcher was a

constant thorn in the side of the Bideford defence in the 25th minute he

won a free kick in a dangerous spot. Martin Lenihan stepped up and

whipped the ball across the face of the goal. Somehow it missed everyone

including the far post.

It was Butcher involved again in the 28th minute when he delivered a

dangerous cross from the left that just missed Dan McBeam’s outstretched

leg. Ten minutes later, a corner from Martin Lenihan found Chris Peck at

the near post but his glanced header went over the bar. The half ended

with Rovers on top and stifling any Bideford attacks. Plenty of chances

created but without unduly testing the Bideford keeper.

The second half was a very similar affair. The first chance came again

via Ed Butcher who picked up the ball from a quickly taken free kick by

Martin Lenihan. Butcher dribbled his way into the box, turning the

defence inside out, but his shot was deflected away for a corner.

Rovers continued to push but that clear cut chances weren’t falling for

them. New signing, Brad Norris was introduced along with Milo Murgatroyd

and both were into the action straight away. Bideford were making

occasional forays into the final third, but bar a couple of corners,

didn’t trouble Frankie Phillips.

The pressure was back on Bideford in the 65th minute after a scramble in

the box fell to Ed Butcher but his shot fired well over the bar. Six

minutes later, good work from Milo Murgatroyd led to a similar scramble

but somehow the host’s defence managed to clear the ball away.

The next fifteen minutes was somewhat quieter as both teams struggled to

find a clear path to goal. As the final whistle approached there was a

break in play to allow an air ambulance to land on the pitch to tend to

a Paulton Rovers supporter who had fallen ill. Thankfully it was not

required and left seconds after landing.

On the restart, Ed Butcher swung in a corner that was met by Dan

Restorick at the near post but his flicked header was cleared inches

from the line. Rovers upped their game once again and in added time, a

cross from the left was met by Brad Norris just a couple of yards out.

But he scuffed his attempt and the ball was cleared to safety. The final

whistle blew and somehow Rovers hadn't managed to capitalise on the

chances they had created. Rovers have performed excellently to get three

draws in a row against promotion chasing teams, but will need to turn

these games into victories sooner rather than later.

Next game: Cribbs (H) 30th March, 3pm kick-off.