Bideford 1-4 Barnstaple Town: Southern League Challenge Cup match report

BARNSTAPLE Town banished the memories of their Bank Holiday defeat to rivals Bideford by emphatically knocking them out of the Evo-Stik League Southern Challenge Cup tonight.

In August, Barum arrived at the Sports Ground looking to take the bragging rights from their North Devon counterparts in the first league meeting between the pair for six years.

That day ended in disappointment as Bideford ran out 2-1 winners, but it was a different story this time as the visitors secured an impressive 4-1 victory.

Two goals in two first-half minutes were the catalyst for Barnstaple to book their spot in the third round.

But it was a man of the match performance from Shaun Copp – who grabbed two goals and an assist – which caught the eye.

Craig Allan was equally outstanding in an unfamiliar right-back position, nullifying any threat that came his way.

Some of Barum’s football at times was excellent, typified by their second and fourth goals. Barnstaple were already one to the good through a fortuitous deflected effort off Ryan Turner, before Turner, Pearse and Copp combined down the right.

The latter squared across the box for the onrushing Niall Heeney to side-foot in the top corner.

Their fourth was similarly impressive – with four minutes left on the clock Heeney charged through the middle, played in substitute Kyle Paine down the side who unselfishly squared for Copp to round things off.

Allan had set his stall out after just 30 second when he slid into a heavy challenge on Tom Moody – one of seven Bideford changes from the weekend loss at Hereford.

Moody lasted just three more minutes before having to be replaced by Billy Tucker.

The deluge of North Devon rain had made the Sports Ground pitch – described as a “cowpatch” by Bideford manager Sean Joyce – tricky to play any free-flowing football.

Sam Stephens, Bideford captain in the absence of Matt Bye, volleyed just wide after James Mayne had half-cleared Tucker’s free-kick to the edge of the box and Sean Downing had a looping header tipped over by Steve Oliver.

When the opener came it owed a huge amount to fortune – although it was what the game needed after a lethargic start – as Lee Francis took aim and his 25-yard strike caught Turner and found a way past Josh Colwill.

There was no luck involved as Heeney doubled the lead 60 seconds later.

Just as there were two goals in two minutes at the end of the first period, there were two in two immediately after the restart.

Bideford thought it was game on after 47 minutes as Tucker’s corner was met by the head of Downing. Oliver got down well but his save fell straight to Stephens who slammed home.

Just 60 seconds later, the two-goal lead was restored and it was one goalkeeper Colwill will not look back favourably on.

Copp’s inswinging corner from the left seemed innocuous, but Colwill misjudged the flight of the ball and the next he knew it was past his hand and over the line.

Downing, James Richards and Dan Harrison all came close to pulling one back for the hosts in the second half but Barum held firm and rounded things off through the excellent Copp on the counter.

Bideford (4-2-3-1): Josh Colwill; Ian Sampson, Dan Harrison, Kai Fisher (Stephen Reed 51), Nick Barker; James Richards, Sam Stephens (Joe Barker 77); Sean Downing, Dan Western, Tom Moody (Billy Tucker 4); Ben Watson.

Barnstaple Town (4-3-3): Steve Oliver; Craig Allan, James Mayne, Aaron Harper-Penman, Liam Gregory; Jack Jenkins, Niall Heeney, Lee Francis; Shaun Copp, Dave Pearse (Scott Huxtable 87), Ryan Turner (Kyle Paine 58). Subs not used: Jimmy Thorne, Steve Holland, Jed Harper-Penman.

Referee: Scott Jackson

Attendance: 320

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