Bideford Away

Robins grounded by dynamic Charlie Davis

BY: Nigel Dean Dorset Echo Sport


CHARLIE Davis was the star of the show as Dorchester came away from Bideford with a 3-2 victory.

The visiting midfielder scored two and set up the other as his side secured just a second – and fortunate – win in seven Evo-Stik League Premier Division and cup games.

Bideford, who slipped ever closer to relegation, gave as good as they got and will be ruing missed opportunities.

Matt Andrew got his side level, after Davis’ early opener, but Billy Tucker hit a post and Dan Western also went close as Sean Joyce’s men failed to take the chances which fell their way.

Dorchester keeper Shane Murphy did his best to give Bideford a way back in when he somehow let Nick Milton’s 30-yard drive straight through him – after Davis and Nathan Walker had seemingly put Town in control – and although the Robins threw everything they had at the Dorset side, the equaliser never came.

Bideford ended their four-month wait for a win when they beat Dorchester three weeks ago, so the Magpies were looking to make sure that 2-1 defeat was just a blip.

And taking the lead after nine minutes was just what the visitors were looking for. Jason Brooks did well down the right, got inside the box and pulled back for the on-rushing Davis. The midfielder made no mistake in side-footing into the bottom corner.

Western has looked a good acquisition in the brief spell he has had at Bideford since his arrival from Tiverton Town and he was at the heart of everything good that came from the hosts.

He reacted quickly to Murphy’s poor clearance and curled a 25-yard effort which saw the Dorchester stopper redeem himself and save well.

His neat flick almost had Richard Groves bearing in on goal but for a heavy touch and he unselfishly squared for Tucker in the box but the ball wouldn’t sit down and the chance went over at the near post.

Tucker came closer still five minutes before the break when his strike from the edge of the box was tipped on to a post – but it didn’t matter as 60 seconds later he turned provider to slip in Andrew in the box who emphatically fired home a deserved equaliser.

With five defeats in their last six, the Magpies had to do something to change the game back in their favour and they rolled the dice 10 minutes after the break by bringing on Ben Watson, Luke Holmes and Bradley Tarbuck on for Jason Brooks, Henry Lander and Toby Holmes.

And – after a brief scare when Murphy turned Andrew’s drive round a post – it had the desired effect. Jake Smeeton drilled in a free-kick which evaded everyone but Davis. He took a touch and finished six yards out on the hour mark.

Three minutes later, it was effectively game over. Dangerman Davis was again the man involved as he got down the left and delivered a peach of a ball for Walker to head home.

That impressive five-minute spell was all Dorchester – who saw out the last 20 minutes with 10-men following an injury to Smeeton – needed.

Despite Milton firing straight through Murphy with time running out, and a barrage of pressure from Joyce’s men in the last few minutes – including Kevin Squire poking just wide and substitute Joe Barker firing over – the home side couldn’t find the equaliser.

Bideford: Moore, Eagan, Harrison, McGrath, Reed (Wilson 88), Milton, Groves (Chamberlain 76), Western, Andrew, Tucker (Barker 68), Squire. Subs not used: Storey, Barker

Magpies: Murphy, Lander (Holmes 56), Jermyn, Dillon, Smeeton, Davis, Brooks (Watson 56), Clarke, Toby Holmes (Tarbuck 56), Walker, Martin. Subs not used: Walker-Harris, Proffitt

Bookings — Bideford: Wilson. Dorchester: Smeeton, Martin, Davis