Barnstaple were well beaten by fourth-placed Salisbury in Division One South and West this afternoon (Saturday)
Barnstaple Town suffered their first home Southern League defeat of 2017 this afternoon (Saturday) after being on the wrong end of a 4-1 thumping from Salisbury.
In a miserable day at Mill Road, the flood gates well and truly opened in the second half.
A 13 minute spell saw three goals go in as Barum’s defence capitulated. Justin Bennett netted twice to add to George Colson’s first-half header before an own goal from Craig Allan added to the home team’s misery.
Niall Heeney got a consolation goal for Barnstaple with 15 minutes remaining.
Barnstaple nearly took the lead in the first minute. Ryan Turner caught the Salisbury defence napping and played a ball straight through the middle of the defence to James Blake, but his shot wasn’t strong enough to trouble keeper Alexander Bass.
The home side enjoyed some pressure in the opening exchanges, but it was the visitors who would take the lead after 11 minutes.
Lewis Benson’s corner was met in the middle of the penalty area by Colson, who headed past Steve Oliver and into the far corner.
Allan battled well for Barnstaple at right back, and looked dangerous in the attacking third when given the opportunity.
It was his ball to Aaron Harper-Penman that gave Barum one of their best chances of the half when the captain’s pressing ball had to be pounced on by Bass.
After a tight first half, the visitors showed just why they’re fighting for a play-off place in the second half, and it was Bennett who took the game out of Barnstaple’s reach.
His first goal – eight minutes into the second half – was taken well. Cutting inside Allan on the left channel, he shaped a curling shot into the top corner.
In less than 10 minutes Bennett got his second and Salisbury’s third. The benefactor from Liam Gregory losing the ball in his own half, the striker manoeuvred away from James Mayne and Harper-Penman before firing past Oliver.
Before Barnstaple knew it, Salisbury had made it four and it was Allan who was on the end of Colson’s flashing ball across the six yard box. The defender knew he needed to get a touch with Bennett bearing down behind him, but it could only go past Oliver.
The home side pulled one back with 15 minutes remaining through substitute Heeney.
A well-worked counter attack saw Turner break down the left wing before picking out a pass to Jenkins on the edge of the box.
He found an on-running Heeney, who took a touch before steering the ball home.
Report: Matt Smart. Picture: Andy Keeble