Barnstaple Town 2 Bristol Manor Farm 0: Toolstation Western League match report

NDJ

TWO goals by Ryan Turner and an excellent display by keeper Steve Oliver helped Barnstaple Town to their seventh straight win in the Toolstation Western League.

Top scorer Turner struck in the first and 70th minutes as Barnstaple beat Premier Division leaders Bristol Manor Farm 2-0 in front of a crowd of 281 at Mill Road.

With Oliver making half a dozen good saves, Town kept a sixth successive clean sheet in the league.

They are now in third place, six points behind Manor Farm, who remain top, but with five games in hand.

Barnstaple, the home team, produced a textbook away performance – although they would have preferred to have kept possession better.

Turner gave them a flying start as he gathered Liam Gregory’s pass and cut in from the left to bend a right-foot shot inside the far post after 45 seconds.

From then on, they worked tirelessly to soak up long spells of pressure from Manor Farm.

Centre-backs Aaron Harper-Penman and James Mayne were excellent. When they were pulled out of position by the movement of the visitors’ clever front three, Oliver refused to be beaten.

After Gregory had gone close at one end, Manor Farm had their first clear sight on goal at the other but Oliver dived low to his left to save from Pete Sheppard and reacted quickly to grab the rebound.

The keeper went on to make good saves from Dean Stamp, twice, before half-time and Jordan Metters and an Aron Robbins free-kick in the second half.

The pace of the first half was relentless and it finished with Scott Huxtable and Harper-Penman making blocks from shots by Kye Holly and Sheppard.

Barnstaple must have been grateful for a breather when the referee blew for half-time.

There was more of the same at the start of the second half before Manor Farm began to struggle to maintain the pace.

By the mid-point of the half, they were fading and Barnstaple were in the ascendancy.

A tenacious run down the left by Steve Holland ended with Kaine Gazzard heading the ball away from the goalmouth.

Then Turner – by now playing as a lone striker – again took a pass from Gregory on the left wing and ran across the area, beating two defenders before slotting in his 19th goal of the season.

While Barnstaple celebrated wildly, Manor Farm looked spent from their unrewarded efforts.

A clean strike by Sheppard went just wide but they should probably have been further punished with 10 minutes to go when Gregory hit the ball just too high for Turner in a three-on-two counter-attack.

The frustrated visitors finished with 10 men after midfielder Jack Durrant was sent off in the 89th minute for kicking out at Ross Jones following a firm challenge by the Barum substitute.

A minute’s applause was observed before the match in tribute to Barnstaple supporter and volunteer Rod Jenkins who died last month. His son, Aaron, was the team’s mascot for the game.

Barnstaple Town (4-4-2): Steve Oliver; Scott Huxtable, Aaron Harper-Penman, James Mayne, Liam Gregory; Jed Harper-Penman (Shaun Copp 83), Jack Jenkins, Niall Heeney, Steve Holland (Lee Francis 69); Ryan Turner, Dave Pearse (Ross Jones 59). Subs not used: Jimmy Thorne, Josh Phillips.

Bristol Manor Farm (4-3-3): Ashley Clark; Kaine Gazzard (Liam Farmer 59), Lloyd Mills, Nathan Loader (Dan Cottle 74), Aron Robbins; Kye Holly, Jack Durrant, Harley Purnell; Jordan Metters, Dean Stamp, Pete Sheppard (Ryan Radford 81). Subs not used: Ben Willshere, Rhys Hodgson.

Referee: Phillip Eddie.

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