Match Report: Wellington 1 Barnstaple Town 1

NDJ

BARNSTAPLE Town’s run of clean sheets ended but Dave Pearse’s injury-time equaliser ensured they remain unbeaten in the league since the second game of the season.

There was little to suggest Barnstaple would not shut out the opposition for the 12th match running until Wellington scored in the 87th minute.

It was not a winning goal, however, as Barnstaple produced a rare moment of quality in the second minute of stoppage-time with substitute Pearse heading in from Aaron Harper-Penman’s delivery.

With Welton Rovers losing 1-0 at home to Radstock Town and Cribbs drawing 1-1 away to Almondsbury UWE, the point keeps Barnstaple five clear at the top of the Toolstation Western League First Division.

Aside from a glorious early chance for Barum, there was little to get excited about in a poor first half.

After Ryan Turner won the ball off goalkeeper Jack Viney, Jack Jenkins took a moment to get it under control and, having rounded Viney, saw his shot deflected over by Luke Bryant.

Wellington were much stronger opposition than the side who were rolled over 7-1 at Mill Road on Boxing Day.

They enjoyed their best spell of the game early in the second half, going close three times in four minutes.

Conner Bryant headed over, Sam Bryant had a shot deflected wide and Jack Bryant stole the ball from Scott Huxtable on the left of the area before flashing a shot off target.

There was plenty of ill feeling between sides who have met three times since Christmas.

Tempers boiled over after a foul by Harper-Penman on Mitch Woodgate and Wellington celebrated furiously in front of the Barnstaple dugout after becoming the first side to score against them in nearly 19 hours of football.

A corner from the right caused a scramble in the area and, although Huxtable cleared one effort off the line, Wellington stabbed the loose ball in with both Jack Bryant and Tim Legg claiming the goal.

Barnstaple immediately responded by attacking down the slope. They won a free-kick on the right and, when Wellington were unable to fully clear it, Harper-Penman put the ball back in the box from the left and Pearse headed into the top corner for his 20th goal of the season.

Cribbs and Welton will both aim to close the gap when they play on Easter Monday. Barnstaple next play in the Les Phillips Cup semi-final at Hallen on Saturday, April 11.

Wellington (4-4-2): Jack Viney; Luke Bryant, Tom Ellis, Chris Duchenski, Mitch Woodgate; Jack Bryant, Sam Bryant, Sam Towler, Tim Legg; Conner Bryant (Sam Jones 87), Ian Bellinger (James Clough 81). Subs not used: Josh Pearson, Luke Perry.

Barnstaple Town (3-5-2): Ryan Draper; Aaron Harper-Penman, James Mayne, Josh Phillips (Steve Holland ht); Scott Huxtable, Jack Jenkins, Ross Jones (Jed Harper-Penman 62), Lee Francis, Liam Gregory; Will Nicholls (Dave Pearse 77), Ryan Turner. Subs not used: Jimmy Thorne, Karl Baggaley.

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