Town left it late to secure victory as they completed their pre-season schedule against their North Devon visitors.
Perhaps with thoughts drifting towards Saturday’s curtain raiser at Gosport, the Peacocks were rather slow to get going in an uneventful first half although the openings that did arise mostly came their way. After Dan Sullivan had fired a free kick over and Matt Wright directed a header wide, Joe Moore was forced to tip over Ollie Chamberlain’s shot from the left after good work by Andrew Neal.
Towns’ top scorer from last season then seized on a loose Toby Down pass but fired over and Sullivan weaved one way, then the next but his 20 yard shot suffered the same fate. Bideford, containing five former Town players in their starting eleven, found chances even harder to come by, Ben Carter and Sean Downing both blasting well over the target.
The Peacocks picked up the tempo in a livelier second half. Sub Jamie Short sent a left footer wide and was then involved in the best move of the game, passing to Neal who in turn teed up Josh Grant advancing in from the left, but his effort skimmed the face of the crossbar. The summer signing from Tavistock was unlucky again when a break down the middle from Short set him up but James Mayne intercepted before the ball went over the line.
Moore made further saves to again deny Grant and Jack Rice who popped up with the decider in the 89th minute just as it appeared stalemate would ensue. The Robins who barely tested Lloyd Irish and had Billy Tucker’s free kick as their main effort of the second half were undone by Rice who chested down Chamberlain’s centre and sent a half volley into the right-hand corner of the net for a fine winner.
Match: Taunton Town vs Bideford
Date: August 5, 2019
Venue: The Cygnet Health Care Stadium
Kick Off: 7.45pm
Taunton: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell, Lewis Hall, Ben Adelsbury (Josh Grant 56), Ed Palmer, Shane White, Ollie Chamberlain, Naby Diallo, Matt Wright (captain) (Jamie Short 45), Dan Sullivan (Noah Coppin 75), Andrew Neal (Jack Rice 75). Unused subs: Ryan Brett, James Sleeman-Keen
Bideford: Joe Moore, Ian Sampson (Will Hancox 75), Lewis Waldy (Ben Palmer 63), Toby Down, James Mayne, Josh Wadham, Ben Carter (captain), Aaron Taylor (Archie Reay 63), Billy Tucker (Sam Haynes 80), Craig Duff (Kevin Squire 69), Sean Downing (Ryan Turner 63). Unused sub: George Sinnott
Referee: Nicholas Eckland (Crewkerne)
Referee’s Assistant 1: Jack Bromham (Glastonbury),
Referee’s Assistant 2: Richard Lawrence (Axminster)