It is crunch time for Barnstaple Town. Struggling for much of this season, the club is still looking for both financial and volunteer help and officials have warned that without this the club may have to withdrawn from the Western League.

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They have called an open public meeting for next Thursday, October 11, in the hope of finding more support to help secure the club’s future.

Supporters attending last Saturday’s match received the news in a forward by acting club chairman Dave Cooke in their match programmes.

It said: “As most of our supporters will know, the club has been running on the goodwill of a small dedicated team of loyal volunteers for quite some time. It has become increasingly difficult to manage all the avenues of work that are needed to run a successful club, with such a small number of bodies. Coupled with these problems there are also the usual financial demands that have to be met and these are becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil.

“Therefore, the club has decided to hold an open public meeting to discuss the matter, here at the clubhouse on Thursday, October 11, at 7.30. A small minority of people have already asked for a similar meeting and now along with, hopefully, other people who have the best interests of the club at heart, will be able to come along and give what support they can.

“Let us all be under no illusion that the club could be very close to having to withdraw from the Western League, either in the immediate future or at the end of the season, if we are fortunate to reach that point in time. Although the town not having any football team associated with it is an unthinkable thought, I assure you that the club will not be able to run on it’s own volition indefinitely. Don’t forget, Thursday 11 October. Be there to give what support you think you can.”

Missed chances

On the pitch, Barnstaple created plenty of early chances at home to Longwell Green, but were punished for not making them count and lost 1-0.

In the first 20 minutes Ollie Knowles crossed to give Ross Jones a chance, but he put his shot just over. Kyle Bassett had a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside and the prospects were looking good. But then Longwell broke through and their first shot at goal saw keeper Darren Rose picking the ball out of his net on 30 minutes

Town struggled to get going in the second half. Longwell had the best of the possession, but Barnstaple still had the best scoring chance when substitute Ollie Marshall was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot. Knowles stepped up, but blasted his shot high.

“Three points lost. We could have had it wrapped up in the first half,” was the comment of manager Dave Griffiths.

Town are away to Bishop Sutton on saturday in the Les Phillips Cup.

Lack lustre Combe

Ilfracombe’s three game winning steak came to an abrupt halt with a lack lustre performance away at Radstock Town on Saturday.

The game was a perfect example of how a match can differ dramatically from half to half. The first half was undoubtedly in favour of the home side, but Combe showed character in a fighting second half, although it was not quite enough on the day.

Radstock have had an indifferent start to the season, but they did not look a team short of confidence. They played from the back at every opportunity and showed real pace when breaking forward.

The first goal was a long range effort which had enough swerve and dip to deceive keeper Steve Oliver .

The second goal was well worked from Radstock. who got the ball out wide to their dangerous winger and he delivered with accuracy to the unmarked striker, who had a simple header from five yards.

It was no less than Combe deserved as they struggled to make any real impact in the first half. The one real chance they did create fell to Ryan Turner, who rushed his shot and the keeper saved easily.

Combe certainly played better in the second half, however, and looked far more dangerous. Their goal finally came with 20 minutes remaining, Ryan Turner making no mistake with a brilliant header, this time from a Lee Francis corner.

Five minutes later and Lee Francis was broughtdown in the box. But the expected penalty did not come. With the clock ticking down Tom Rossiter had a final chance, but blazed just over.

Ilfracombe were due to play away at Witheridge in the Devon St Lukes Bowl last night and on Saturday they are away to Wells City in the Les Phillips Cup.

1 comment

  • As a relative newcomer to the area, I am sad to see the local club in crisis. I assume the decline has been gradual. I was born and bred in a Northern Town within sight and sound of the football ground. Saturday's were for going to the match. This has changed. Now, men and their son's can be found wandering the High Street. Not reluctantly anymore. These potential supporters have been lost to the game as spectators. Many of those old enough, are clutching a pint in front of the live scores TV at the pub. Interest in the local team is vanishing. Surely time now to accept that change is needed. The manager recently suggested a local league. Sounds good to me. A new start, in a new league, but without the demands of travel and expense. The efforts of those that have kept Western League football in the area should be applauded. Time to 'cut your cloth' as they say up north. Get behind the manager's suggestion, generate local countywide interest, and thrive !

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    Thursday, October 4, 2012

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