SPOT OF BOTHER: Jamie Densham's penalty was saved.
A BRAVE defensive effort from Bideford ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat against Wycombe Wanderers on the opening night of the Errea South West Challenge Cup.
The Robins held their League One opponents to a goalless draw at the Sports Ground before missing out 5-4 in the spot-kick lottery.
Wycombe goalkeeper Scott Shearer saved Jamie Densham's penalty — and scored one himself — giving Peter Taylor's team a winning start to Group C.
But the home side could be delighted with a fine effort in which they looked fit and organised against professional opponents.
While the visitors dominated possession, Bideford's stand-in goalkeeper Jon Vaughan was rarely called into action.
Indeed the Robins may feel they could have sneaked a half-time lead.
New signing Matt Hockley had a free header clawed off the line by Jamie Young after finding himself unmarked from Nick Barker's corner.
Barker's in-swinging cross also sneaked in off Young's far post before the 'goal' was chalked out with Ellis Laight flagged for offside.
Wycombe's best first-half opening fell to Chris Zebroski who wriggled free before Dominic Rivans cleared the danger.
Not even 10 changes to the Wycombe line-up at half time, including the introduction of former Newcastle frontman Carl Cort, could change the pattern of play.
For all their neat possession, the visitors rarely found the time or space to trouble Vaughan.
Rivans, Rob Francis and Appledore's Chris Brown gave Biddy a rock-solid defensive platform while the rest of the team grafted around them.
When Phillips skipped away from Matt Downing on the left flank, his wild cross summed up Wycombe's bluntness in the final third.
Vaughan, who was only called up at short notice because of regular goalkeeper Ryan Draper's work commitments, remained relatively trouble-free.
But he found himself the centre of attention, confidently converting one of the Robins' five penalties in the shoot-out.
Quirky competition rules meant both goalkeepers were asked to take a penalty, and like Vaughan, Shearer relished the task, lashing home from 12 yards.
Barker, Brown and Downing also struck for Bideford but Densham's sidefoot effort was saved by Shearer, setting Wycombe up for victory.
Successful spot-kicks from assistant manger Junior Lewis and Shearer set the visitors on their way before Stuart Beavon, Phillips and John Mousinho finished the job.
Wycombe face fellow professionals Luton Town at Appledore on Friday, while Bideford will take on the Hatters at the Sports Ground on Wednesday.
Bideford: Jon Vaughan, Sam Scott (Matt Downing 51), Nick Barker, Dominic Rivans, Rob Francis, Chris Brown, Ian Down, Matt Hockley, Matt Andrew (Jamie Densham 51), Ellis Laight (Steve Iquelmo 69), Kevin Squire (Matt Broom 66). Subs not used: Robbie Herrera and Billy Hopcroft.
Wycombe Wanderers — first half: Jamie Young, Thomas Moncur, Joe Cobb, Michael Duberry, Leon Johnson, Lewis Montrose, Ian Westlake, Dan Fitchett, Chris Zebroski, Matt Harrold, Jon-Paul Pittman.
Wycombe Wanderers — second half: Scott Shearer, John Mousinho, Joe Cobb, Luke Oliver, Junior Lewis, Matt Bloomfield, Tommy Doherty, George Daly, Matt Phillips, Carl Cort, Stuart Beavon.
See Thursday’s Journal for a full report, reaction and photos.