Barnstaple Town are still searching for their first points in Evo-Stik Division One South after a 3-1 defeat to Highworth Town this afternoon (Saturday).

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

Barum struggled to reproduce the sort of performance that saw them push Bristol Manor Farm and Bideford close in their last two games, as they went from 1-0 up to 3-1 down with a flat performance.

Barum took the lead in the sixth minute through Steve Holland, returning to the club for a first appearance since April 2017.

Callum Parsons’ penalty ensured the two teams went in level at the break, and the visitors pulled away early in the second half thanks to goals from Callum Ferguson and Wayne Turk.

Barum, along with Mangotsfield United, are still without a point in Division One South after four games. Kevin Darch and Dave Griffiths will be hoping their side will get on the board next Saturday when they meet Blackfield and Langley.

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

Holland’s return gave Barnstaple some much-needed experience in the Barnstaple line-up alongside Ross Middleton and Jack Jenkins, and he got the hosts off to the perfect start.

Jack Langford’s flick-on went into the penalty area and with Elliot Whitecross brought down, Holland took the loose ball and put a neat finish past Connor Jones in the Highworth goal.

Barnstaple were dealt a blow 15 minutes later when Middleton went off with a hamstring injury, prompting more shuffles at centre-back and allowing the visitors an avenue back into the game.

Parsons got in behind the defence after 27 minutes and went down as he tried to poke the ball beyond Holmes. With referee Stuart Annis pointing to the spot, Parsons dusted himself down and finished low to Holmes’ right to equalise.

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

The visitors then took the lead in the second minute of the second half. This time Parsons was the provider, crossing from the left to find Ferguson, who stuck his free header past Holmes.

It went from bad to worse for Barnstaple on the hour as the visitors extended their lead. Sean Wood’s low free-kick from the left channel was deflected into the path of an onrushing Turk, whose sliding effort saw him put the ball low into the net.

Barum pushed forward to try and reduce the deficit, but struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities.

The visitors almost added to their lead in stoppage time, drawing a couple of fine saves from Holmes as Aaron Ferris and Matt Grabe both went close.

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

Barnstaple Town: Holmes, J Welch, Roach (Darragh 62), Pinnick (Crook 66), Spence, Middleton (Moulden 22), Holland, R Jones, Whitecross, Langford, Jenkins. Subs not used: Phillips, R Welch.

Highworth Town: C Jones, Wood, Morgan, Turk, Sproule, Taylor, Bennett (Nesbeth 83), Roberts, Ferguson (Grabe 83), Parsons, Jefferies (Ferris 55). Subs not used: Haines.

Attendance: 105.

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

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

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

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

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