Bideford 3 Hemel Hempstead Town 2
It was a frustrating afternoon for Hemel Town as they were beaten by ten-man Bideford at The Sports Ground on Saturday.
Flying high at the top of the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division, Hemel had the chance to extend their advantage over the chasing pack, but were beaten by an enterprising display of counter-attacking football from their hosts.
“We have to give credit to the opposition,” said Tudors manager Dean Brennan. “We started the game positively but they fought their way back into it well.
“We just need to cut out our individual errors. We created a lot going forward but we just weren’t good enough at the back.
“Now we have to put the game behind us and get back on track next week. The main thing is that we stick together and that everyone at the club sticks together.”
Hemel had started the game well on Saturday and took the lead after 16 minutes when the in-form Dave Pearce slotted home past keeper Paul Hilder.
Bideford responded well, though, and were back on level terms after 30 minutes when Kev Squire volleyed into the roof of the net from a half-cleared corner.
The momentum looked to have swung in Hemel’s favour when Dominic Rivans was given his marching orders for an elbow in Matt Nolan, but Bideford played some excellent football on the counter attack to take a 3-1 lead.
First, Richard Groves smashed in a blistering effort from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 soon after half time, before Squire nodded home the third in the 69th minute when Sean Downing beat Tudors keeper Sam Beagle to a cross from Groves.
Hemel pulled a goal back through substitute Joe Bruce, but could not find en equaliser and their misery was compounded late on when David King was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Despite the loss, however, the Tudors stay top of the league by three points as second-placed Leamington were beaten 3-0 by St Albans.