Bideford turn season around to close on Southern League safety target
WHEN Bideford were beaten 4-2 at Weymouth in August, it was their fourth straight defeat since gaining promotion to the Evo-Stik League Southern premier division.
After the 2-1 win over the same opposition on New Year's Day, the Robins have turned their season around.
Five victories and just one defeat in eight games proves they have adapted to the higher level of football.
Now, instead of worrying about the prospect of relegation, they are edging towards mid-table safety.
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Sean Joyce, the manager, said: "We gave four games away at the start of the season and we have worked so hard to get back in that pack again.
"It has been a great Christmas period for us.
"Forty points from forty games and you're safe. It's a massive target but you break it down."
Bideford are only 13 points shy of that target at the turn of the year.
Joyce paid tribute to his players for their effort and adaptability in beating Weymouth despite missing two key defenders.
Switching to four at the back, the Robins named an attacking line-up with Ben Wood and Sean Downing on the wings and Matt Andrew supporting Kevin Squire up front.
"We have got a shape and a system and we work hard," said Joyce.
"We were without Dominic Rivans and Rob Farkins, who has been outstanding for us.
"We haven't got the resources to go and get another Rob Farkins.
"The effort the lads put in for me is second to none.
"If I asked Sean Downing (a winger) to play in goal he would do it for me."
Bideford hope to end their poor run against bogey team Gosport Borough in Hampshire on Saturday.
Borough, who were promoted with Biddy last season, have beaten them twice this season, in the league and FA Cup, and ended their 25-match unbeaten run last term.
"They seem to have the Indian sign on us but, with the resources and money they have got, they are not that far in front of us," said Joyce.
Farkins and Connor Clifford are available again after serving one-match suspensions. Rivans has two more games to serve on a four-match ban.