Two first half goals did the damage as Barnstaple Town were beaten 2-0 at home to Cirencester Town in the Evo-Stik League South West on Saturday.

Barnstaple were unable to build on a 2-1 midweek win at Paulton Rovers – vital points that could make the difference as dance with relegation looms large in the coming weeks.

Ben Whitehead put the visitors ahead on 38 minutes before Tommy Anderson made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time.

Barnstaple had good spells on possession in the opening 30 minutes and put pressure on the visitors, who struggled against a bitterly cold easterly.

Archie Reay used the wind to his advantage with a shot from 20 yards that was headed wide by Alex Albert.

Nathan Cooper then released Mitch Thomas down the right but his cross-shot was gathered by Cirencester goalkeeper Matt Wieczorek.

Whitehead’s opener soon followed, a shot from just inside the penalty area that dipped under Aaron Screech’s crossbar.

With the sides ready for the half-time whistle, a ball in from the left found Anderson arriving on the edge of the six-yard box to apply the touch past Screech.

The visitors came out the strongest in the second half, Screech the busiest of the two goalkeepers in the early exchanges.

Barnstaple began to pose a threat themselves, Billy Hopcroft often at the heart of the danger, but they were unable to claw back the deficit

Town are third from bottom on 25 points with 10 games left to play, including last night’s (Tuesday’s) clash with top-of-the-table Taunton Town.

Taking bottom side Bishops Cleeve out of the equation (17 points), just six points separate the bottom six sides.

On Saturday, Barnstaple travel to third-placed Wimborne Town and next Tuesday, there’s a trip to second-from-bottom Slimbridge.