The Larks got their Southern League campaign off to a decent start with a gutsy comeback in north Devon. An entertaining game, and definitely one of two halves, saw the teams share the spoils although we will have to wait a bit longer for that elusive win over the Robins.
Those watching in the autumn sun were treated to an end-to-end contest. Sporting their new kit, the visitors certainly dominated possession for most of the first half and only a lack of goal sharpness denied Joe Tumelty, Dan Demkiv and captain Mike Baker from making it count. So it was against the run of play that Bideford took the lead when Shaun Semmens was judged to have fouled their player in the box. Ryan Turner tucked away the penalty and then got his brace when the Robins bypassed our defence a short while later. At half-time they had a 2-0 lead and we were scratching our heads as to how we hadn’t scored at least once.
Phil Bater made a couple of bold substitutions at the break, with centre-forward Brad Norris and midfielder James Byrne coming on for Josh Jones and Alex Lambert. Both made an immediate and welcome impact. The Larks won a corner early in the second half, Byrney produced an immaculate pass into the Bideford box, and Brad thumped a header home above the home defence to give us the opening we were craving.
About 10 minutes later the Bideford keeper spilled a catch off a Mike Baker free kick. Jack Camm was the first to react, stabbing the ball into Liam Kingston’s net from close range to give us parity at last. The home side reacted strongly and the Larks were forced to defend in numbers for the final half hour, with a Lewis Powell strike off the crossbar our only real chance of the half. Dan Restorick in the middle and Leon Greenland on the left battled well and we held on for a deserved point.