Barnstaple Town v Shortwood United: Barum can’t move away from bottom as visitors take the points

Barum were beaten 3-1 at Mill Road, unable to turn a good first half spell into goals.

Nick Humphreys gave Shortwood the lead before Billy Hopcroft quickly levelled things up. Sam Taylor restored the visitors’ lead before half-time.

A desperate finale for the hosts ended with them conceding a third, with Jordan scoring for the Shortwood in stoppage time.

Barum are still second from bottom after the defeat, and Bishops Cleeve remain five points behind them with two games of the season remaining. A win at home to North Leigh on Tuesday night would ease what’s been a turbulent season.

Shortwood only travelled with their bare 11, and they had to soak up some pressure in the opening exchanges, but were rewarded after 11 minutes when Humphreys gave them the lead.

Finding space out wide in the penalty area, he fired a low shot across goal that rebounded off Niall Heeney and into the net.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to get back on terms. Three minutes after Humphreys’ strike, Hopcroft latched onto a ball over the top and drove towards goal before blasting the ball in at Pickering’s near post.

It was no more than Barnstaple deserved, and they went on to create more chances in a tidy spell.

Some neat interplay from Walton and Hopcroft on the left wing ended with the latter seeing his shot across goal come back off the base of the post. Minutes later a Tony Radford met a Walton corner with his head and saw it come back off the crossbar.

But Shortwood were having sights at goal themselves. Taylor saw one shot cleared off the line by Walton and another saved by Holmes before he eventually gave Shortwood the lead.

With half an hour gone he pounced on Holmes’ parried save from Humphreys to tap in to the empty net.

Barum continued to create chances before half-time, but for all their attacking intent in the first half, it didn’t click after the break.

As the visitors looked to protect their lead and slow the game down, Darch and Griffiths brought George Nancekivell and Ollie Booth on and moved to a back four, but the change of shape didn’t change fortunes. Too often the ball was lost in midfield, and it didn’t look like the Barnstaple 11 had a plan B.

The hosts threw more bodies forward until eventually just Heeney and Walton remained in defence, and it was then that the visitors wrapped things up.

Morris sealed all three points when he got on the ball in acres of space in the Barum third. The forward ran at Holmes and found room to fire past him.

Barnstaple Town: Holmes, Mitchell, Walton, Radford (Nancekivell 67), Cooper, Heeney, Gray (Booth 73), Reay, Stevens, Hopcroft, Thomas.Subs not used: Darragh, Darch, Screech.

Shortwood United: Pickering, Meredith, Prictor, Lander, Rich Thwaite, Ryan Thwaite, Taylor, Freeman, Morris, Humphreys, Hawes.

Attendance: 97

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