Vase disappointment

17:23 04 September 2012

Barnstaple old and new as Keiron Jewell (red) battles for the ball against former Town player Stan Paxton, now with Willand.(Pic Platinum Images).

Barnstaple old and new as Keiron Jewell (red) battles for the ball against former Town player Stan Paxton, now with Willand.(Pic Platinum Images).

copyright Kelvin Parsons, Platinum Images

FA VASE: ILFRACOMBE 0, BRISLINGTON 1

Ilfracombe suffered their second successive single goal home defeat at the hands of unbeaten Premier Division leaders Brislington, this time losing 1-0 in the FA Vase.

This followed a 2-1 defeat in the league the previous weekend.

“It’s always difficult to face the same opposition on successive weekends and to lose by a single goal on both occasions is gutting to say the least,” said manager Ross Middleton.

“We didn’t perform anywhere near the level we expect, our passing and possession play was poor at times, but I’m realistic and look at the facts of each performance and there were a lot of positives to come from the match. We hit the bar three times, the keeper made another top draw save to keep them in it and stopped Ed Yeo in a one-on-one near the end. You add a blatant penalty we had turned down again at home and we had more than enough to win the game.”

Combe started with all three attackers Ed Yeo, Shaun Lewis and Billy Tucker on the field. Yeo was the first to hit the cross bar with a flicked header from a corner, the ball bounced down and Gary Skinner smashed it back with interest, again hitting the bar before it was cleared to safety.

Brislington had plenty of possession, but struggled to create clear cut chances as their long ball tactic was thwarted.

It was Shaun Lewis’ turn to hit the bar next, whipping the ball into the box, it deceived everyone before hitting the bar and rolling to safety.

Brislington came out in the second half showing the bit of quality needed in a tight game. Combe defended the first header from a corner well, but as Ryan Turner went in for a 50-50 header for the second ball the referee blew and made the controversial decision of a free kick for raised arms.

Brislington made no mistake, with the free kick bent over the wall and into the far corner.

Combe continued to try for an equaliser, but the visiting centre half partnership were in dominating form and when Combe beat them, the keeper was more than a match.”

Combe have another tough game on Saturday away to Bishop Sutton in the league.

LEAGUE: BARNSTAPLE TOWN 1, WILLAND ROVERS 4

Barnstaple found themselves facing half-a-dozen of the club’s former players when they entertained Willand Rovers on Saturday.

Exeter City first year professional Ollie Knowles and Eaton Phillips from Elmore made their debuts and Keiron Jewell, one of two 16-year-olds in the side, had his second game.

Town started brightly, enjoying a good share of the early possession. But Willand showed their strength with an opening goal by James Ansell and Barnstaple ‘old boy’ Stan Paxton made it 2-0 for the visitors before the break, exploiting a weakness in the home defence from a corner.

Barnstaple continued to battle, but the visitors stretched their lead with two further goals from Danny Bailey and Josh Luxton before Town’s debutant midfielder Knowles - on a month’s loan from City - pulled a late goal back.

“They were just a bit more streetwise. But the scoreline flattered them,” said Barnstaple manager Dave Griffiths. “We have a lot of youngsters and are still learning. But we will take the positives and learn from our mistakes. We will keep on fighting.”

Town are on Devon St Luke’s Cup duty away to Ivybridge tonight (Wednesday) and on Saturday have a re-arranged league fixture away to Wells City.

Barnstaple U18s, several of whom have already helped to plug first team gaps this season, open their own account at home to Cullompton on Sunday (ko 2pm).

They were league winners last season, but new arrivals in the league promise strong opposition this time around.

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