AN outstanding first 45 minutes – including two goals by top scorer Ryan Turner – kept Barnstaple Town on their winning streak in the Toolstation Western League.
Turner struck in the fifth and 29th minutes as Barnstaple dominated the opening half against Bridport.
Strike partner Dave Pearse made it 3-0 on the hour and, after a brief lapse, Will Nicholls completed a 4-1 victory with three minutes to go.
It was a fourth straight Premier Division win for Barnstaple but it may have come at a cost with captain Aaron Harper-Penman (knee) and Turner (hamstring) limping off.
Barnstaple looked dangerous every time they went forward in the first half – starting as early as the second minute when Jed Harper-Penman fired just over.
They took the lead three minutes later when Turner, just inside the box, chested down a loose ball and finished clinically in the bottom corner.
Liam Gregory, who had another outstanding game at left wing-back, struck the underside of the bar with a vicious strike on 13 minutes.
As the chances kept coming, Aaron Harper-Penman had a header blocked in front of goal.
Approaching the half-hour, Alan Hill looked to have got a vital touch to a left-wing cross, taking the ball away from Pearse. But the Bridport right-back’s header merely took the ball into the path of Turner who beat the keeper with a lunging finish.
It seemed inevitable Turner would score his third treble of the season – but the hat-trick goal would not come.
He bundled the ball in from close range but was ruled offside, then put a shot just wide.
Another effort was cleared off the line five minutes into the second half and three more opportunities, when put through on goal, went begging.
It was after the third of those misses, in the 80th minute, that he fell to the ground clutching his left hamstring.
By then it was 3-1 after the unmarked Pearse had turned in Gregory’s right-wing corner and Bridport had hit back immediately with Jamie Beasley firing in after the switched off in defence.
Town lost their way for quarter of an hour after Beasley’s goal and were indebted to Steve Oliver for a superb save, throwing himself to his left to tip away a Ryan Dovell header, which retained their two-goal lead.
They regained control in the last 10 minutes and added a fourth when a Lee Francis cross from the right found its way to Nicholls and, although the substitute got the ball caught beneath his feet, he managed to prod it in for his first goal since August in an injury-hit campaign.
Barnstaple Town (3-5-2): Steve Oliver; Aaron Harper-Penman (Steve Holland 75), Niall Heeney, James Mayne; Scott Huxtable, Jed Harper-Penman (Shaun Copp 78), Jack Jenkins, Lee Francis, Liam Gregory; Ryan Turner (Will Nicholls 81), Dave Pearse. Sub not used: Jimmy Thorne.
Bridport (4-1-4-1): Steve Boore; Alan Hill (Tom Blair 51), Ryan Hayter, Shane Evans, Chris Clarke; Dan Peach; Matt Condliffe, Tom Richardson, Ryan Dovell, Jamie Beasley; Mark Salter. Subs not used: Sean Stewart, Joshua Hadley.
Referee: Marc Whaley.