RYAN Turner scored four goals as Barnstaple Town went four points clear at the top of the Toolstation Western League First Division with a 7-1 rout of Wellington.
Town’s top scorer, who now has 28 this season, was only on the pitch just over an hour before being substituted but he produced four expert finishes.
A double from Jack Jenkins and a deflected effort by Jed Harper-Penman completed Barnstaple’s tally.
It might have been more as the visitors played the second half with 10 men after Tim Legg’s 34th-minute red card. But the pitch worsened under torrential rain and the hosts were only able to add two goals to their 5-1 half-time lead.
Barnstaple played some excellent football on a heavy surface and were quickly into their stride.
In only the third minute, Billy Tucker’s free-kick from the right wing slipped past the goalkeeper and Jenkins, whose birthday was on Christmas Day, continued the celebrations by smashing in the opening goal.
Harper-Penman shot narrowly wide four minutes later but Barnstaple were on target again in the 13th minute when they broke away and Tucker played through Turner who beat Jake Viney with lovely first-time finish.
A foul on Dave Pearse on the edge of the area then gave Jenkins the chance to curl in his second goal from an 18th-minute free-kick.
Three minutes later, Wellington scored out of the blue when striker Liam Cleal got between the centre-backs and poked his shot into the bottom corner.
Less than a minute had passed before Barnstaple restored their three-goal advantage with Harper-Penman delivering from the right and Turner beating Viney for the second time.
Wellington were in even deeper trouble when referee Ian Parsons showed left-back Legg a yellow card for a foul and then the red for his part in the altercation that followed.
It was all Barnstaple for the last 10 minutes of the half as Pearse clipped the bar and Tucker and Jenkins both shot straight at the keeper – the latter missing a glorious chance for a first-half hat-trick from about eight yards out.
The fifth goal came in stoppage-time when Harper-Penman’s 20-yard shot took a deflection and looped into the top corner.
Turner completed his hat-trick 90 seconds into the second half and, after Viney had brilliantly tipped a Harper-Penman shot over, got his fourth goal in the 61st minute with a flicked header that was just out of the keeper’s reach.
As the rain worsened, that was the end of the goal flood, although Will Nicholls hit the post and James Mayne put the ball in the net, following up after a Tucker shot was saved, but was denied by an offside flag.
With second-placed Cribbs not playing until tomorrow, Barnstaple have strengthened their position at the top and are now unbeaten in 21 league games. Their next match is away to Keynsham Town on Saturday, January 3.
Barnstaple Town (4-4-2): Ryan Draper; Scott Huxtable, Aaron Harper-Penman (Josh Phillips 68), James Mayne, Liam Gregory; Jed Harper-Penman, Lee Francis, Jack Jenkins, Billy Tucker; Ryan Turner (Will Nicholls 62), Dave Pearse (Steve Holland 77). Subs not used: Ross Jones, Jimmy Thorne.
Wellington (4-4-2): Jake Viney; Luke Bryant, Tom Ellis, Chris Duchenski, Tim Legg; Ian Bellinger (Mitch Woodgate 47), James Clough (Sam Bryant 59), Sam Towler, Jack Bryant; Liam Cleal, Carl Jones (Luke Perry 66).