Barnstaple Town showed their fighting spirit in the second half to draw 2-2 with Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South.

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

On a day where a defeat would have been a disaster for Barum, they twice came from behind to take a point in an enthralling match.

They had been off the pace in the first half, and went behind just before the break when Louis Britton scored the first of two goals for the Mangotsfield forward on the day.

Jack Rice-Lethaby equalised five minutes into the second half before Britton gave the visitors the lead again after 64 minutes.

Sol Wheatley scored the all-important goal with 10 minutes remaining, converting a one on one to keep Barum’s survival hopes very much alive.

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

While a win would have been preferable, the draw keeps Barum six points from safety as opposed to nine.

Barnstaple forced Mangotsfield keeper Joe Perry into action inside the first minute when Stephen Reed’s free kick from the edge of the penalty area had to be parried away for a corner.

Matthew Tanner had an early chance for Mangotsfield, pulling an effort wide of the near post, and Britton saw a shot from inside the penalty area blocked by the diving Barnstaple boss.

After that both sides seemed to withdraw a little and the game started to become a battle in midfield.

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

A vital stop from Steve Oliver stopped Mangotsfield from taking the lead after half an hour, with the Barnstaple keeper standing tall when left one on one with the striker to keep the scores level.

There wasn’t a lot he could do about the visitors’ go-ahead goal two minutes from half time though. Aaron Harper-Penman’s clearing header was taken down by James Ollis, who took the ball into the box before squaring the ball to Britton for a simple finish. The Mangotsfield forward made no mistake.

The game came to life in the second half, and the visitors created a couple of chances early on. First Luke Spokes saw a shot come back off the crossbar, and then Ollis had a curling, dipping shot tipped over the bar by Oliver.

What could have been 2-0 quickly became 1-1 five minutes into the second half. Jed Harper-Penman’s drilled ball across goal was met by a sliding Rice-Lethaby, who was on target to give the hosts and the Barum crowd a much-needed boost.

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

The parity lasted 14 minutes before Britton was on target again. With the ball in the box, the Mangos forward turned away from Aaron Harper-Penman and fired a shot that reached the back of the net via a deflection.

Barnstaple began throwing caution to the wind, bringing on Sam Box as a target man and pushing Wheatley forward. The approach almost backfired when Ollis broke free on the counter attack, but his finish was over the bar.

Wheatley got in behind the Mangotsfield defence minutes later, but with only Perry to beat he elected to square the ball for Rice-Lethaby and overhit his pass.

It was therefore a relief to Wheatley and everyone else supporting Barum when, given an almost identical scenario nine minutes from time, he calmly slotted the ball past Perry and into the empty net.

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Both sides had chances to win in the final 10 minutes as Barnstaple pushed forward for all three points. Scott Sharp saw an effort go over the bar, and at the other end Oliver denied Ollis a chance on the counter attack to ensure Barum didn’t come away empty handed.

Barnstaple Town: Oliver, Wheatley, Reed, Cameron, Nancekivell, A Harper-Penman, J Harper-Penman, Rice-Lethaby (Sharp 82), Jenkins, Langford (Box 65), Holland (Cann 74). Subs not used: Glover, Welch.

Mangotsfield United: Perry, Simpson, Bloom, Hall (Fortune 69), Hartshorn, Davies, Spokes, Peck, Tanner (John 77), Britton, Ollis. Subs not used: Ellington, Neill, Mugoya-Tabinewa.

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Attendance: 202.

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Mangotsfield United in Evo-Stik Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart