Barnstaple Town suffered defeat at Mill Road for the first time in three games in Evo-Stik Division One South this afternoon (Saturday)
Barum were defeated 2-0 by play-off hopefuls Cinderford Town, with the hosts left to rue a couple of defensive mistakes.
James Harding fired Cinderford into the lead midway through the first half after Barum went to sleep at a set piece.
The visitors doubled their advantage just three minutes into what would be an hour-long second half when Richard Greaves capitalised on a mix-up inside the penalty area.
The second half was somewhat marred by Liam Angel’s two-footed challenge on Jack Rice-Lethaby as the game was heading into its final 20 minutes. Angel was sent off by referee Lee Roberts, but the game wouldn’t restart for another 15 minutes as Rice-Lethaby received treatment and was ultimately stretchered off the field after suffering a nasty ankle injury under the challenge.
Defeat leaves Barnstaple second from bottom in Division One South with three matches to play.
The visitors almost took the lead inside three minutes when a cross from Blaine Waugh somehow found Harding at the back post. The striker was able to get a shot away where it was met by Mike Humphreys on the goal line to clear.
Harding had another sight at goal 10 minutes later, this time his effort was held by Steve Oliver.
The striker eventually broke the deadlock in the 27th minute after Barnstaple completely switched off defending a free-kick.
Lorcan Sheehan’s whipped ball from wide on the right went right across the Barnstaple goal. Harding kept the ball alive and fashioned space to fire a shot back across Oliver and into the far corner.
The hosts had not been able to create much with the ball, but they clicked with a flowing move five minutes before the break which ended with their best chance of the half.
Humphreys found space on the right after George Nancekivell had broke out of defence with possession. A sweeping ball across the penalty area was picked up by Scott Sharp, who turned back inside and hit the base of the post with his shot.
The second half saw Barnstaple Town faced with an all-too familiar problem as they saw Cinderford’s lead double just three minutes after the restart.
A mix-up in the penalty area saw the Barum defence cough up the ball to Greaves, who was left with a simple finish past Oliver just five yards from goal.
Angel’s challenge on Rice-Lethaby brought the game to a lengthy standstill as the game went into its last 20 minutes.
Angel saw red for a two-footed challenge on the Barum youngster, who had to undergo lengthy treatment for an ankle injury on the field before he was stretchered off nearly 15 minutes later.
The hosts rallied after the restart, and came close to pulling one back in the eighth minute of stoppage time when Jack Jenkins saw a deflected shot come back off the inside of the post and into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Alex Harris.
Barnstaple Town: Oliver, Humphreys, Short, Ward, Nancekivell, Montague, J Harper-Penman, Jenkins, Sharp (Stevens 65), Langford (Reed 72), Rice-Lethaby (Glover 85). Subs not used: A Harper-Penman, Pearce.
Cinderford Town: Harris, Waugh (Rhodes 85), Turl, Watkins, Lewis, Angel (off 75), Normal, Sheehan, Greaves (Binns 73), Harding (Hunt 73), Macdonald. Subs not used: Atkinson.