Sean Joyce's Robins seek to extend winning streak at home to five
Bideford bid to extend their eye-catching Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division winning home run against Banbury United at the Sports Ground today (3pm).
Sean Joyce's Robins have been bobbing along at home with successive wins against St Albans City (1-0), Kettering Town (4-0), Hemel Hempstead Town (3-2) and, most recently, kicking off 2013 with a 2-1 New Year's Day win over high-flying Weymouth.
The impressive winning run is given added impact by the fact that St Albans are sixth, Hemel top the table and Weymouth are sixth.
Despite their position at the foot of the table, Kettering have won four matches since that defeat at the Sports Ground.
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However, Kettering lost at Gosport Borough (7-0) and were beaten 5-3 in a top-versus-bottom clash at Hemel last Saturday.
Nevertheless recent Robins form – including a first away win of the season, 1-0 at Frome – has enabled the North Devon club to climb away from the basement.
Bideford start the day in 15th place, a point ahead of their visitors from Oxfordshire.
Joyce's side relied on a late leveller, three minutes into stoppage time from on-loan forward Isaac Vassell to draw 1-1 with the Puritans in Banbury on September 4.
Six matches into the league season, Vassell's goal secured Bideford's first away point following promotion as Division One South & West champions.
After gaining just four points from their opening six games, Joyce's side have slowly turned their fortunes around and accrued a further 21 points in 16 matches.
The in-form Robins have claimed 16 points in their last eight games, an impressive average of two points per match since a mid-November resurgence.
Reflecting on the Robins' rise and following last week's defeat to Gosport, Joyce admitted: "Down here Gosport were head and shoulders above us, then, at their place in the FA Cup, we didn't believe in ourselves enough.
"On Saturday we created enough chances to win by two or three. I was really pleased with the performance. In the last six months we have improved so much, and if we play like that all season we'll be all right."
Mark Saunders' Tiverton Town travel to in-form Yate Town seeking to build on a run of four successive Division One South & West draws.
Tiverton could have their work cut out.
Yate won 3-2 at second-placed Poole Town, while fifth-placed Tivvy were held 1-1 by Bishop's Cleeve at Ladysmead last Saturday.
The Bluebells, who – like Bideford began the season with four successive defeats – notched their fifth win in a row by upsetting ninth-placed Cirencester 3-1 on Tuesday to rise to 11th in the table.