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Bulley welcomes a reality check

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 01, 2013

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BARNSTAPLE TOWN suffered their first defeat of pre-season with a 4-1 loss to North Devon rivals Bideford on Tuesday.

After an encouraging summer with a number of new signings, the result came as a reality check ahead of the Toolstation Western League First Division season.

Bideford, who play three levels higher in the Calor League Premier Division, proved their seniority with a slick first half.

Two sharp finishes from Owen Howe and headers from Rob Farkins and Kevin Squire made it 4-0 by half time.

Town improved after the break when Tom Marsh scored a header – the first goal Bideford have conceded during six friendly victories.

Following the 2-1 success against Tavistock and comfortable wins over Fremington and Holsworthy, Tom Bulley, the Barnstaple manager, was glad to have a tougher fixture.

"I take the positives," he said. "It was a good test for us. Exactly what we needed."

Sean Joyce, the Bideford manager, accused Barnstaple of being overly aggressive. Joyce said: "They were virtually trying to kick us off the park. There were a few tackles flying around that were a bit naughty."

Joyce confirmed Saul Halpin, Jack Furzer and Ethan Phillips have signed for the season.

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