Robins progress in St Luke’s Challenge CupExeter City were knocked out of the St Luke’s Challenge Cup in the second round at the hands of Bideford, who were 4-2 winners at The Sports Ground.
A lively start from both teams saw Exeter threaten the goal and Lloyd Gardner had to be alert to clear an effort off the line for the hosts as Matt Jay directed an effort goalwards.
However Exeter went ahead just before the half-hour mark – Ollie Watkins and Cameron Gill combined down the left, allowing the former to strike firm and low across goal and into the corner.
The lead was short-lived, however, as a minute later Kevin Squire escaped onside at the other end and hit a firm left-footed shot beyond the dive of James Hamon.
And just four minutes passed before the Robins were ahead, as Ben Gerring got above his man to power a right-flank corner back across goal and into the net.
However the teams were tied at the break – the ball bobbled loosely in the Bideford box, which allowed centre-half Josh Read to take control and calmly find under-18 teammate Gill, who stabbed in the equaliser on the cusp of half-time.
But Bideford controlled much of the second period after two goals within the opening 12 minutes of the restart.
Firstly Sean Downing ghosted into the box to tuck in a cross from Ben Wood to retake the lead, before Craig Veal’s strike was deflected in to open up a two-goal margin.
The Robins weren’t quite comfortable with Exeter occasionally threatening on the break, and Gill and Jay both squandered opportunities to cut the deficit and offer a grandstand finish to the game.
Ultimately the hosts held out to secure a win and set up a North Devon derby in the quarter final, where the Robins will travel to Barnstaple.
Bideford AFC: Fisher, Sampson, Merica, Downing, Gerring, Harrison, Reed, Gardner, Squire, Veal, Wood.
Subs: Fath, Copp, Down.
Exeter City: Hamon; Egan, Read, Madden, Down; Byrne, Pope; Charles, Jay, Watkins; Gill.
Subs: Keadell, Merritt, Rehemi, Richards, Hayfield.