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Bideford supporters are loving their Calor League adventure

By NDJMark  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

Bideford fans enjoyed their trip to Stourbridge on Saturday, seeing their team win 3-0

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Among the 573 supporters watching Stourbridge versus Bideford on Saturday, at least 15 were smiling at the final whistle.

Those who had made the long journey by coach from North Devon to the Midlands were determined to enjoy a 3-0 away win.

The chants of “we want four” in stoppage time summed up a memorable day during an increasingly special season.

It could have been five, six or seven, such was the dominance over 10-man Stourbridge in the closing stages.

Bideford have gone from Toolstation Western League champions to a side pushing for promotion to Skrill South in the space of four years.

During that time they have usurped Tiverton Town and Truro City to become the leading non-League club in Devon and Cornwall.

Do supporters believe they can continue punching above their weight against clubs the size of Chesham United, Cambridge City, St Albans City and Weymouth?

Of course they do. The fans are proud of the progress under manager Sean Joyce and see no reason why Bideford cannot secure a play-off place.

“All the players get on and work hard for each other,” said Paul Humphreys. “That’s why I think we are overachieving. We have matched most sides in this league.”

Adrian Thurlow agreed. “I haven’t seen anyone in this league to scare us,” he said. “With a full-strength squad we can challenge for a play-off place.”

Even without a full-strength squad, Bideford have taken seven points off Hemel Hempstead Town, Poole Town and Stourbridge in the last week.

“Given our situation with suspensions and injuries over the last five games, and the points we have got, it bodes well for the rest of the season,” said Jules “Redeye”.

“With all the players coming back, I think our run-in is going to be strong. Sean Downing makes the difference. His presence and his skill can’t be underestimated.

“When you think we avoided relegation by the skin of our teeth last year, if we were to end up in the top half of the league it would be an amazing achievement on our budget.”

For Ray Taylor, an away game is a welcome chance to watch 90 minutes of football.

During home matches he only catches glimpses of the action while working in the supporters club burger van, raising much-needed funds for the club.

“I thought it was brilliant today,” said Ray. “One of the better performances.

“It’s nice to be away because you can watch the football, enjoy it and have a beer.”

The trip to Banbury United on Saturday will give Bideford a chance to go for their sixth away win, compared to only two last term.

Players and supporters travel hundreds of miles in the Southern League but the quality of the matches and, of course, the winning make the long trips worthwhile.

This time last year, Bideford stalled badly and finally avoided relegation by goal difference after going 12 matches without a win.

Whatever happens between now and April, the skill and spirit of Joyce’s team ensures there will be no hobbling over the line in 2013-14.

“Our 14-match unbeaten run at the start of the season was awesome,” said Jules. “It almost guaranteed our safety at such an early stage.

“Everyone who plays for Sean has got to have the mentality that it’s all for one and one for all. They are all lionhearts.”

Bideford run a coach for supporters to most away games. To find out more visit the club's website.

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