ASSISTANT Manager Simon Revell was full of praise for his Newton Abbot Spurs side following their 1-0 defeat to Southern League Division One outfit Bideford AFC on Friday night.

'There totally are [plenty of positives to take],’ Revell said. 

'I think the goal, for one, was a bit fortunate in that it just to fell to him and suddenly it’s 1-0 but other than that, we were good in the first half. Hearing people when we were walking in [to the dressing room at half-time] saying they couldn’t notice the difference in the levels, that’s a credit to us and our young side. 

'Going forward, if we can do that against a side a couple of leagues above us, it bodes well.’

Spurs 0-1 Bideford
A Bideford defender opts to head back to his 'keeper with Toby Pullman in hot pursuit. (Josh Goodman)

Spurs were a bit wobbly in the opening exchanges and fell behind to a goal from Ryan Turner in the ninth minute – a goal which would prove to be the difference on the night. But they eventually found their feet and, at times, were the better side.

'I think we were very cautious for the first 15 to 20 minutes because we didn’t want to come out against a side like Bideford in front of a big home crowd and be three- or four-nil behind before you’ve even started,’ Revell explained. 

'You’ve got to set your foundations and then build on them. Once we were comfortable, we realised where the space was and I think we just exploited it a bit better. In the middle of the park, we found a lot of time and space, and they struggled with only two in there when we had the three. 

'We were playing better with the three, so they had to try to come narrow and suffocate us in the middle, and we just opened it up and switched sides. With Noycey [Callum Noyce] and Toby [Pullman] out wide, I think it benefitted us. 

'They had to adjust to our game instead of us having to adjust to theirs, so if we’re doing that from our level to their level, we’re obviously doing something right.’

Spurs 0-1 Bideford
Noyce, left, was influential on the flanks. (Josh Goodman)

The visit of the Robins to Newton Abbot would – on paper – represent Spurs’ toughest pre-season test, being higher ranked than any other side in the Teignbridge club’s summer schedule. Revell believes there is value in going toe-to-toe with a club like Bideford.

'[We gain] improvement in ourselves,’ he explained. 

'The result wouldn’t have mattered tonight, even if we had lost four- or five-nil. We had to come out of it thinking ‘are we progressing as a squad’, and I think it says a lot when you’re disappointed with a second half that you’ve drawn 0-0 with against Bideford. 

Spurs 0-1 Bideford
Bideford striker Jesse Howe, centre, powers through the Spurs defence. (Josh Goodman)

'We were ok, but we didn’t perform brilliantly and didn’t push on from the foundations we set in the first half. But they didn’t create anything either, so it was a 0-0 second half when we weren’t on it and we’ve still drawn the half to a side that really should be picking us apart.

'I don’t know really what chances they had second half, and we had a couple that we could’ve probably scored had we been clinical enough. But being off it and being disappointed says a lot from where we’ve come in the last few years. 

Spurs 0-1 Bideford
Toby Pullman pulls the trigger from close range – a shot which would beat goalkeeper Adam Seedhouse-Evans but get cleared off the line. (Josh Goodman)

'Ultimately we’ve only lost to a nothing goal from a side two leagues better, so in the end it bodes well.’