Barnstaple Town thumped by promotion chasers Bristol Manor Farm

Barum were beaten 5-1 by play-off hopefuls Bristol Manor Farm at The Creek.

With three games left to play this season, Kevin Darch and Dave Griffiths’ side are second from bottom and eight points ahead of Bishops Cleeve, who have five to play.

It was 2-2 when the two sides last met at The Creek back in September 2015 in the Toolstation Western League, with Dean Stamp scoring twice for the home side.

He repeated that feat on Saturday, opening the scoring and then rounding it off after Jordan Metters scored two himself and Kye Holly – also on the field that day – converted a penalty.

Manor Farm opened the scoring in the seventh minute, with Stamp latching onto a ball through the middle before firing past Aaron Screech in the Barnstaple goal.

It took less than five minutes for Barum to get back on terms, with centre-back Nathan Cooper finding the net for his third goal in five games.

The hosts took the lead again shortly before half-time thanks to Metters’ shot from distance.

They didn’t extend it until the 72nd minute, when Holly converted from the penalty spot after Jack Durrant was fouled by Alex Gray.

Manor Farm ran away with it after that. Metters grabbed his second seven minutes later before Stamp added the fifth from close range in the 81st minute.

“They were physically a bit stronger than us, which we didn’t deal with particularly well, but it wasn’t a 5-1 game,” said Darch.

“We gave them a good game in the first half, but they scored at the right times.

“We played really well after half-time and had a couple of good chances to make it 2-2 and get back in it, then they got the penalty and scored and the game went away from us after that.

“The last two goals I think the players knew the game had gone – it just happens sometimes.

“The players put in a lot of effort into it, but the penalty was a bad one to give away and it’s lost us the game.”

Barum are back at Mill Road this Saturday, with Shortwood United visiting.

Shortwood have already announced their withdrawal from the league at the end of the season, and are currently 18th.

Barum’s last home game of the season is the following Tuesday, with North Leigh the visitors, and Darch is hoping for six points from the two games.

“We want to finish on a high,” he said.

“There are no easy games in this league and there are no guarantees, so we’ll have to be right at it.

“We owe it to everyone at the club to finish as high as we can and finish on a high.”

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