BARNSTAPLE Town moved to within three points of second place in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division with a 4-0 win over Clevedon Town tonight.
They were not at their best but made the game safe with an excellent start to the second half in which Ryan Turner scored twice to put them three up.
Clevedon posed more of a challenge than might have been expected from a side bottom of the table with only one point and having conceded an average of more than three goals a game.
But Barnstaple proved too strong and comfortably recorded a fourth straight win and third consecutive clean sheet in the league.
Strike partners Turner and Dave Pearse are in outstanding form but it was the centre-backs who threatened in the opening 20 minutes.
James Mayne arrived unmarked at the back post to volley a Jack Jenkins free-kick goalwards but Clevedon keeper Fraser McDiarmid reacted instinctively to tip the ball over the bar.
Another Jenkins free-kick then gave Aaron Harper-Penman a chance but the captain put his header wide.
Barnstaple might have been caught out when they twice gave the ball away in the 34th minute. Pacey Clevedon striker Jake Harris cut in on his right foot and shot powerfully but Steve Oliver was equal to it.
A minute later, the home side took the lead. Lee Francis played a superb ball down the right wing and Turner pulled it back for Pearse to finish.
Barnstaple hit their stride from the start of the second half and it took Turner less than two minutes to double their lead. Running on to Jenkins’s ball over the Clevedon defence, he finished well from the edge of the area for his 10th league goal of the season.
The 11th was not long in coming as he seized on a perfectly-weighted ball from Francis and scored in typically clinical fashion.
Barnstaple were in complete control but by the midway point of the half they had gone off the boil again.
Clevedon did not fold and Will Manning had a free-kick deflected just wide before seeing a shot brilliantly saved by Oliver, diving low to his left. That was quickly followed by another fine save from the Barum keeper, leaping to tip over from Sam Groves.
Barnstaple finally clicked again in the last 10 minutes and Pearse twice went close, while Turner perhaps should have had a hat-trick when he skied a shot from Scott Huxtable’s cross.
The fourth goal came when Turner controlled a clearance from Oliver and teed up Ross Jones who struck a shot into the bottom corner with the last kick of the game.
Barnstaple Town (4-1-3-2): Steve Oliver; Scott Huxtable, Aaron Harper-Penman, James Mayne, Josh Phillips (Liam Gregory 53); Niall Heeney; Steve Holland, Jack Jenkins (Ross Jones 69), Lee Francis (Kyle Paine 70); Ryan Turner, Dave Pearse. Sub not used: Jamie Pow.
Clevedon Town (4-4-2): Fraser McDiarmid; Jake Buxton (Tyler Davis ht), Joe Ellis, Ben Murray (James Morgan 76), Jacob Staines; Will Sneddon-Coombes, Ibrahima Diallo, Will Manning, Sam Groves; Jake Harris, Adam Buckley (Ryan Gissing 68). Sub not used: Alex White.