Barnstaple Town were dragged back to the bottom of the BetVictor Division One South table on Saturday after a disappointing defeat to Basingstoke Town.

Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

The game against Basingstoke Town was described by manager Dean Edwards as a 'cup final' for Barum heading into the game, but they were second best as they were beaten 2-0 in a crucial six-pointer at Mill Road.

Two first-half goals did the damage for the depleted hosts, who were without Stuart Bowker, Javan Wright and Yohan Rutty-Smith to name three.

A bad start saw Benjamin Cook's corner go in after hitting the post and the back of goalkeeper Steve Oliver with three minutes gone.

The visitors extended their lead 10 minutes before the break after captain Dean Stow's effort crept over the line.

Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple rallied early in the second half but their challenge fell away somewhat after Kai Fisher was sent off 20 minutes from time for a second yellow card.

The defeat means Basingstoke leapfrog Barum, pushing them back to the bottom of the table on goal difference.

The visitors went ahead inside four minutes in freak circumstances. Cook's free kick from the left had a bit of assistance from the wind as it drifted to the back post, where it cannoned off the upright before bouncing off Oliver's head and going in.

The wind may have given the hosts a slight disadvantage, but in a key game for both sides at the bottom of the table it was Basingstoke who started with intent, and Barnstaple were flat.

Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

The visitors strung together multiple corners after Ben Wright almost doubled the lead with a shot from inside the penalty area.

The second goal did come 10 minutes before the break, when Alfie Saunders' long diagonal ball from halfway got a touch from Stow. The ball beat Oliver, bounced off the inside of the post, rolled across goal and over the line.

Barum didn't get much of a look at goal until the stroke of half time, when Saddam Bello headed a Liam Gregory free kick off target.

Barnstaple were markedly better in the second half and started creating chances to get back in the game. Bello saw a good shot blocked and another saved by Freddie Gee after cutting in from the left.

Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Kieran Jewell saw a shot from distance creep over the bar before Fisher had a shot saved after some good work from Brian Levien.

But after 25 minutes of pressure the hosts' challenge faded - made worse by being reduced to 10 men when Kai Fisher was given his marching orders for picking up a second yellow card with 20 minutes remaining.

Barnstaple Town: Oliver, Levien, Gregory, Humphreys, Jewell, Fisher, Wright-Harper Innis, Gale, Bello, Phillips, Darragh. Subs not used: Whiteoak, Darch, Prentice, Paul.

Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Basingstoke Town: Gee, Saunders, Everiss, Suckling, Stow, Edwards, Cliff (Andrady 83), Cook (Harris 90), Wright (Dillon 74), Brown, Wilson. Subs not used: Alves, Davis.

Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town in BetVictor Division One South. Picture: Matt Smart