26 December 2013

Bideford expect bumper Boxing Day crowd against Truro City (North Devon Journal)

BIDEFORD are hoping for a bumper crowd for the home match against Truro City on Boxing Day.

The clubs will meet at the Sports Ground for the first time since 2007, renewing their Devon-versus-Cornwall rivalry.

After a strong performance in the 3-1 victory over Hitchin Town on Saturday, Bideford are fourth in the Calor League Premier Division.

Truro, relegated from Conference South in April, made a slow start but have moved up to 17th as their form has improved significantly.

They produced one of their best displays of the season to draw 1-1 at Arlesey Town on Saturday with Les Afful, the former Exeter City striker, getting the goal.

Steve Tulley, the former Exeter captain, has given the team valuable experience since signing in October.

Bideford manager Sean Joyce is hoping his team can complete the double against a side who have gained a big reputation since their rise from the South Western League.

“You try and build it up as a derby, Devon against Cornwall,” said Joyce. “It’s just another game in my eyes. With Truro it’s the big spenders coming up. They have changed their squad around totally from the last time. They can do that with the budget down there.

“We have to go with what we have got, bringing in players from the lower leagues – Graham Mercieca from Street, Sean Downing from Appledore, Owen Howe from Tiverton Town reserves.

“We are going to be in the play-off places at Christmas, which is an unbelievable achievement. If you had said that to me at the start of the season I would have laughed at you.”

When Truro and Bideford met for the first time in five years at Treyew Road in August, the rivalry was clear to see. A spiteful contest provided little entertainment but Bideford were not concerned as goals from Craig Duff and Richard Groves gave them a 2-0 win, maintaining a fine start to the season.

Bideford hope to have Ashley Yeoman, the Torquay United loanee, back after a hamstring injury.

A few familiar faces will be returning to the Sports Ground with Truro.

Goalkeeper Grant Fisher played a handful of games in 2011-12 when Bideford clinched the Division One South and West title.

Defender Paul Kendall, the Truro captain, had a spell with Bideford in 2010 before joining Tiverton.

Matt Andrew, who spent nearly six years at the Sports Ground before joining Truro in the summer, will not be involved because of a long-term knee injury.

Ex-Plymouth Argyle midfielder Joe Broad comes from North Devon and has made more than 300 appearances for Truro.

Previous meetings

September 18, 2007 – Truro City 2 Bideford 1: @Defender Jake Ash scored twice to give Truro their sixth straight win, sending them top of the Toolstation Western League Premier Division. Mike Southgate turned in a cross from Ashley Pook to pull one back but it was not enough for Bideford.

November 6, 2007 – Bideford 1 Truro City 1: @Marcus Martin headed a late equaliser for the FA Vase holders after Robbie Gough had given the hosts the lead in the Western League clash. Bideford paid the price for a first-half penalty miss from Kain Bond.

While the Robins went on to finish sixth, Truro were promoted to the Southern League as Premier Division champions.

January 19, 2008 – Truro City 3 Bideford 2:

The Cornish club held the edge in a thunderous FA Vase tie played in front of a four-figure crowd. Goals from Dean Stamp, Chris Reski and Joe Broad sent them through while Biddy replied through Jamie Densham and a free kick from Lee Groves.

April 15, 2008 – Truro City 2 Bideford 6:

Trailing 2-0 to goals from Stewart Yetton and Joe Broad after 13 minutes, Bideford produced a stunning fightback against the newly-crowned Western League champions. Jamie Densham stunned Truro with four goals with Matt Downing and Leon Hapgood getting the others.

August 26, 2013 – Truro City 0 Bideford 2:

 On their first meeting for five years, there was no love lost between the sides in a bad-tempered encounter. On the brief occasions when a football match threatened to break out, Craig Duff put Bideford ahead and sub Richard Groves sealed the win with a free kick.

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