Colaton Raleigh edged out by strong Bickleigh outfit.
Colaton Raleigh suffered defeat at home to a strong Bickleigh side on Saturday, but can take positives from a performance that saw them fight back to 2-2 with 10 men before eventually succumbing to defeat, writes Jordan Cooper.
Bickleigh arrived at Newton Poppleford playing fields on the back of two wins over the hosts in the league last season but the early play was disjointed from both sides. It took a red card to bring the game to life after just 15 minutes - Raleigh winger Tony Cox given his marching orders following two mistimed tackles. The numerical disadvantage played into Bickleigh’s hands and they quickly took advantage. A throw-in down the left was worked forward and eventually crossed into the box for a well-taken finish past stand-in ‘keeper Brett Newbery.
Raleigh managed to compose themselves and had chances of their own before a second goal from Bickleigh looked to have essentially killed the game off. However, Raleigh showed a steely determination to get them back into the game when a break down the right saw Adrian Parr find space inside the box and he fired in to make it 2-1 at the interval.
The second half was a different story completely. Raleigh struck the woodwork no less than three times in the opening 10 minutes of the second period and it seemed as if they were the team a man to the good. After several good chances went begging they finally found the equaliser, Cooper controlling and firing home from close range. With their tails up, Raleigh would have hoped to grab a winner in the final half an hour but it was Bickleigh who almost immediately replied, draining the home side of belief and, with tiredness setting in, Bickleigh added two more before the final whistle.
Whilst a cup-run would have been nice, Raleigh can now turn their attention to focussing on another promotion. They start their league campaign this Saturday, 10th, at home to Crescent. 3pm KO.