Joyce chirpy after Robins claim point
BIDEFORD manager Sean Joyce praised the battling qualities of his team, after coming back from 2-1 down to claim a point and a 2-2 draw away to Southern Premier Division promotion favourites Chesham United on Saturday.
Joyce admitted: "It was a cracking start when you consider Chesham finished third and in the play-offs last season, and if anything they have strengthened for another push at the title again this season.
"The lads were great," he added. "The one thing we have got is a tight-knit squad and players willing to work their socks off and work for each other, and there's a lot to be said for that.
The proud Bideford boss added: "We've got a point on the board after one game which is great because last season it took us five games to get our first points."
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Former Willand Rovers and Tiverton striker Owen Howe smashed in the Robins' 58th-minute leveller on his debut, after midfielder Craig Duff had replaced dismissed goalkeeper Steve Oliver in goal minutes earlier.
Connor Clifford got the Robins off to a flying start, scoring from a sixth-minute free-kick before Drew Roberts equalised on 30 minutes and James Potton volleyed United 2-1 up in the 46th minute.
Oliver was sent off after hauling down Roberts but will be available for tomorrow night's eagerly anticipated floodlit match at the Sports Ground, where Bideford will entertain Totton in their first home League fixture of the new season.
Joyce said: "We were without a handful of lads on Saturday but Nick Barker should be OK for Tuesday and Ian Sampson – who was ill on Saturday morning – may be OK.
"We are still without [skipper] Matt Hockley, who will be back from his honeymoon on Saturday, when Rob Farkins will be back from his two-game suspension."
Truro City's inspirational skipper Jake Ash shrugged off a toe injury to start their 2-2 draw at home to Bedford Town ahead of tomorrow's testing trip to Bashley, who drew 0-0 away at Biggleswade Town on Saturday.
Central defender and Truro stalwart Ash also won the last-minute penalty that enabled midfielder Jordan Copp to level from the spot for new-look City, now managed by Steve Massey.
Les Afful fired City ahead on 32 minutes before the visitors restored parity through Andrew Phillips just before half time. Buoyed by their leveller, Bedford went ahead through Jordan Jarrold's 53rd-minute free-kick. Truro had four debutants: Dan Evans, Warren Daw, Jared Sims and Jed Harper-Penman.
John Clarkson's new-look Tiverton Town side suffered a 2-1 Division One South and West home defeat to Cirencester Town, despite levelling through a Chris Holland own goal a minute after Lee Smith's sixth-minute opener for the visitors.
Former Cinderford Town striker Smith also struck the 25th-minute winner as Tiverton bid to bounce back tomorrow at Paulton Rovers, who were 5-0 opening-day winners at Godalming Town.
Taunton Town drew 4-4 at Evesham United in an eight-goal thriller up in Worcestershire.