Goals flying in at Mill Road

FOOTBALL: Five-star Barum off to a flyer

North Devon Gazette

A new season and new era began at Barnstaple Town with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Bitton to open their campaign in the Toolstation Western League.

Barum very nearly pulled off a remarkable escape from the Southern League drop last year, and the good form has continued under manager Craig Laird.

After a frenetic start to the game, Barnstaple got their noses in front with a goal from Tor Swann and this was swiftly followed by a wonderful strike by Billy Tucker.

Ryan Turner effectively sealed the points with a third after the break and Swann added his second of the afternoon. Callum Davey notched a late fifth to send the 181 supporters bouncing back home with hopes high for a strong season ahead.

Laird said after the game: “Once we got over the first 25 minutes, there was only one team that was going to win it. Everyone played their part, from the starting eleven to the subs.

“The squad is very healthy, quite a few lads didn’t make the sixteen but will be heavily involved in the coming weeks. A good start but lots of hard work, trials and tribulations in front of us.”

Barnstaple travelled to Bridgwater United on Tuesday night and will be back on home turf this weekend to take on Cornish outfit Mousehole in the FA Cup.

Ilfracombe Town also have an FA Cup tie on Saturday, when they travel to Sherborne Town, and the Bluebirds will be feeling satisfied after a hard-earned point in the 1-1 draw at Welton Rovers to open their Western League account.

“A good point away from home on the opening day of the season,” said Ilfracombe manager Clem Bennellick. “We had to show different sides to our game. We know that every point is invaluable in the Western League and they all have to be fought for, so we came away reasonably happy.

The South-West Peninsula League also starts on Saturday. Torrington open with a trip to Axminster Town and Torridgeside are away to Elmore. Holsworthy are also on the road and a tough test at Dartmouth.