RYAN Turner’s 21st and 22nd goals of the season capped Barnstaple Town’s 2015 off with a hard-fought win against Cadbury Heath.
Well known for their attacking style and bags of goals, Town showed their fighting ability to grind out a 3-1 win against an impressive Cadbury outfit.
Scott Huxtable added to Turner’s first to send the home side in 2-0 at the break, but Heath captain Matt Huxley halved the arrears shortly after half-time to give his side a chance.
But the free-scoring Turner had other ideas, sealing the win with a brilliant strike to send Barnstaple into the new year in third place.
It wasn’t quite the 50 seconds it took against Odd Down two weeks ago, but Barnstaple stamped their authority after just five minutes of this game when Liam Gregory’s quick throw found Turner in the box, he dummied once and coolly slotted home.
But Cadbury weren’t prepared to just lie down, and two testing crosses – one from George Boon and the other from Jamie Horgan – were inches away from finding a finishing touch.
The visitors’ 16th-place position was seemingly a false one on the basis of the first 25 minutes, Matt Britton drilled one just too high, Boon hit his effort straight at Steve Oliver and Huxley somehow missed his kick from less than six-yards out.
There was a feeling that Barnstaple would make Heath pay for their missed opportunities, and they did just that in the 36th minute – and in some style.
Shaun Copp, Lee Francis and a lovely flick from Jed Harper-Penman helped switch it from left to right and feed Huxtable who drove the ball into the far corner.
Without the usual pairing of James Mayne and Aaron Harper-Penman (both suspended) in front of him, Oliver was only tested once in the first half, when he turned Huxley’s fierce strike round the post after 41 minutes.
Cadbury got exactly the kind of start to the second half they needed when their skipper rolled his man in the box and hit it into the corner three minutes in.
The comeback was almost complete a minute later when Kristian Lee shot just wide and they came even closer after 53 minutes but Aaron Thorne saw his effort flash inches over.
After an edgy start to the second period, Barnstaple grew in confidence as Turner led the charge and played in Francis on the far side to fire just past the post.
A third for Barnstaple seemed just around the corner as Jack Jenkins hit the side netting and Turner’s deflected shot was saved by Tom Drewitt.
And that goal did arrive with 12 minutes left on the clock as Turner got his second of the game.
There didn’t appear to be much on when the 22-goal hitman picked the ball up on the right hand side, but he ran the line and curled a super effort into the far corner to wrap up the three points.
Town still had time to hit the woodwork, twice, as substitute Will Nicholls powered a header against the top of the bar before it looped up and hit the same spot on the way back down.
Barnstaple Town (4-4-2): Steve Oliver; Scott Huxtable, Josh Phillips, Niall Heeney, Liam Gregory; Jed Harper-Penman (Ross Jones 61), Jack Jenkins, Lee Francis (C), Shaun Copp (Steve Holland 68); Ryan Turner (Will Nichols 80), Dave Pearse. Subs not used: Jimmy Thorne.
Cadbury Heath (4-4-2): Tom Drewitt; Aaron Thorne, Aaron Day, Callum Whooley (Mitch Norman 86), Harry Price; Jamie Horgan, Kristian Lee, Matt Britton, George Boon; Simon Mcelroy (Joe Guest 45), Matt Huxley (C). Subs not used: Andy Black.
Referee: Marc Whaley