Barnstaple ‘at ease’ with 3-0 cup win over Cornishmen

BARNSTAPLE Town marched into the next round of this season’s FA Carlsberg Vase with a 3-0 win against St Blazey on Saturday.

Barum looked at ease against the South West Peninsula Premier Division visitors from the off and went ahead on 25 minutes when Billy Hopcroft accepted the gift of a loose ball in the box.

Goalkeeper Simon May was beaten for a second time just a minute into the second half, this time Stan Paxton applying the finish after being played in by Lewis Coombes.

Not to be outdone, playmaker Coombes added the game’s third goal when he headed home a trademark Ricky Marinaro free-kick.

The goal margin would have been bigger still had headers by Paxton and Mark Armstrong found the target.

The reward for Barnstaple is a trip to Peninsula premier boys Liskeard Athletic in the first round proper on Saturday, October 22.

Ilfracombe have been drawn a home tie against Peninsula premier side Plymouth Parkway in the next round.

The Bluebirds were in Toolstation Western League action on Saturday but were beaten 5-1 in a demoralising trip to leaders Larkhall Athletic.

Although you’ll never hear manager Barry Yeo making any excuses, it’s hard not to notice Ilfracombe’s season is being severally damaged by an ever-lengthening injury list.

After having to start the season without the experience of Michael Heddon, Karl Baggaley, Ross Middleton, Neil Bettis and Steve Holland, they looked to have weathered the storm as all have returned at some point this season.

But from the five, only Middleton and Bettis played on Saturday. Mark Clunie, Robert Gough, Lee Francis, Tom Rossiter and Leon Tazwell joined Heddon, Baggeley and Holland on the absentee list, leaving manager Yeo eight players short.

The task of visiting the current premier league champions would have been hard enough; but Yeo had little choice other than to travel with only 11 fit players which included himself in the starting line-up – as a strike partner for Shaun Lewis.

The game plan was simple. Get men behind the ball and look to counter attack when possible with the pace of Lewis.

The strategy worked well in the first half, stifling the Larkhall strikers albeit with out paying dividends in front of goal.

The floodgates finally opened with three goals inside the first 10 minutes of the second half, Nat Auckland, Tyler Sibbick and Jamie Lyons breaching the barricade.

‘Combe made the briefest of fight backs when Middleton’s whipped free-kick sailed straight into the net to make it 3-1, but the joy was short lived as Sibbick and Ryan Bath settled a 5-1 scoreline.

Yeo will be hoping to get at least one or two players back before Saturday’s tough away trip to Hallen.

Barnstaple are at home to Brislington.