A LAST-minute strike from Dave Pearse secured a shock 1-0 victory for Barnstaple Town at Taunton Town tonight.
Evo-Stik League Southern Division One South and West promotion favourites Taunton couldn’t break down the Barnstaple rearguard and substitute Pearse came up trumps in the 95th minute to seal an excellent three points for the visitors.
The win builds on Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Yate Town in their Southern League bow.
Manager Barry Yeo made three changes from the side who drew with Yate, Kyle Paine in for Scott Huxtable, Jed Harper-Penman in for James Mayne and James Blake given his first start in place of Pearse.
Mayne had to be withdrawn from Saturday’s game due to injury and Niall Heeney slotted in alongside Aaron Harper-Penman and Craig Allan tonight, as he did at the weekend.
Barum made a bright start and Ryan Turner fired wide in the first minute before Blake ran in on goal and shot just over.
Steve Oliver had been called into action before Blake’s first-half effort and Allan – who was excellent in the weekend draw – was a huge presence at the back as Taunton came out attacking in the second half.
After reaching the play-offs in the last two seasons, and a comfortable 3-0 opening day win at Shortwood United, Taunton would have been expected to roll over last season’s Western League runners-up, but it wasn’t to be.
The closest they came was when Aaron Harper-Penman had to head off his own line after 71 minutes.
Scott Sharp came on for Turner late on and almost snatched all three points with five minutes to go but his effort was kept out.
But Pearse, who replaced Blake after 67 minutes, had the last word and made it four points from two Southern League games.
Barnstaple are in action again on Saturday when they travel to another of last season’s play-off contenders Swindon Supermarine.