Truro City 0 Bideford 2
Truro City saw their unbeaten start to the Calor League premier division season come to a bitterly disappointing end, as their North Devon rivals went home with the points after a very scrappy and fractious match.
A goal just before half time by Craig Duff and a late free-kick by substitute Richard Groves, were enough to send City to their first defeat after a win and two draws.
And to make matters worse, they ended the game with only ten men after defender Dan Evans was harshly red carded by referee Steve Annis for barging over Bideford striker Owen Howe ten minutes from time, the official ruling that he had denied him a clear goal scoring opportunity.
But overall, it was poor fare for a crowd of more than 500 on a perfect Bank Holiday afternoon.
You had to feel some sympathy for referee Annis, who struggled to keep a lid on a match which threatened to get out of hand on several occasions.
He dished out seven yellow cards and that red as he battled to keep control, though he was certainly not helped by the antics of the players who constantly surrounded him at every opportunity, often waving imaginary cards trying to get their opponents booked.
The Penzance-based official could have been stronger, but that does not excuse the players’ behaviour or the quality of the football which rarely rose above the mediocre.
City got sucked into the game Bideford wanted to play and hardly created a chance worthy of the name in the match.
The first goal was always going to be crucial and it came after 38 minutes when Craig Duff took advantage of some poor City defending to put the visitors 1-0 up.
He was put through on the left of the area and finished well, beating Luke Payne with a shot iinto the opposite corner.
Payne was City’s third keeper of the season, with No1 Ollie Chenoweth again unavailable because of work commitments.
Payne was one of four changes from the team that won at Hinckley United, with Matt Andrew back from suspension to face his former team (from whom he received plenty of unwanted attention), while Raiff Gwinnett made his first start at right back, with Liam Eddy recalled to lead the attack, alongside Lewis Coombes.
The second half was little better, with constant stoppages as Bideford were happy to slow the game up against a toothless City attack.
And when Evans was sent off, Truro must have sensed it was not their day and Groves’ free-kick three minutes from time simply confirmed the fact.
Now City, who have dropped to 14th in the table, must regroup ahead of Saturday’s home game against Hitchen Town and supporters will be hoping this display was not a foretaste of what is to come.
CITY: Payne, Gwinnett (Broad 67), Kendall, Evans, White; Cooke, Brokenshire (Copp 65), Ash (capt), Andrew, Coombes (Broomfield 75), Eddy.
Subs (not used): Sims, Swain.
Red card: Evans.
Yellow cards: Ash, Andrew, Brokenshire.
BIDEFORD: Oliver, Orchard (Sampson 76), Clifford, Furzer, Farkins, Gerring, Hockley (capt) (Halpin 82), Bye, Squire, Howe, Duff (Groves 58).
Subs (not used): Barker, Phillips.
Yellow cards: Howe, Squire, Bye, Clifford.
Goals: Duff (39) 0-1, Groves (87) 0-2).
Referee: Steve Annis (Penzance).