Joyce wants to replicate second-half fightback

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By Western Morning News | Saturday, November 17, 2012, 06:30

Bideford and Tiverton Town are both in home Evo-Stik League Southern action today.

Sean Joyce's Premier Division Robins bid to get back on track after a 5-3 defeat at third-placed St Neots Town.

Today second-bottom Bideford host sixth-placed St Albans City, seeking to maintain the form they showed during a memorable second half comeback at St Neots.

Joyce's Robins ended the match in the ascendancy following a double substitution and the introduction of Matt Rickard and Richard Groves.

Groves made it 5-1 from a 72nd-minute free-kick before midfielder Matt Bye raced through to further reduce the deficit. Sean Downing made it 5-3 as Bideford rocked their hosts on their heels.

Skipper Matt Hockley and Downing both went close before Rob Farkins had a late shot cleared off the line.

Joyce admitted: "At half time we were dead and buried and we could have easily thrown the towel in. I was proud of the lads in the end. It justified what we are trying to do."

Bideford are set to be boosted by the return of Ian Sampson and James Richards, who missed last week's trip due to work commitments.

Experienced Biddy boss Joyce remains adamant that his young side – runaway Division One South & West champions last term – are finding their feet match-by-match in the top flight.

Former Premier Division side Tiverton have undergone their own turnaround under the management team of Mark Saunders and assistant Hedley Steele since being relegated at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Last term Tiverton finished ninth in Division One South & West after a mid-season surge.

Today Saunders and Steele's side are second in the table, defending a match five-match unbeaten run ahead of their home Division One South & West match against ninth-placed Wimborne Town.

Tiverton boss Mark Saunders is buoyed by the form of top scorer Joe Bushin's six goals in those five unbeaten games following Tuesday's 3-1 win at North Leigh.

Saunders is also delighted that fellow striker Michael Nardiello has returned to form, while fit-again experienced midfield ace Andy Taylor was also on target.

Saunders revealed: "Joe is on fire, Nards is back scoring again and with Andy I think it has been right to wait until he was fully fit before getting him back in the team.

"The team were playing well and I would rather he was 100% ready. There is real competition for places now and I think that is showing with the results we are getting."



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