Three first half goals set up a 3-1 defeat for Barnstaple Town against Winchester in Division One South and West

A first half to forget for Barnstaple Town paved the way for their fifth consecutive Southern League defeat on Saturday.

They were beaten 3-1 by Winchester City at Mill Road in the Division One South and West fixture.

Stuart Green and Craig Feeney struck for Winchester within two minutes of each other mid-way through the first half before Howard Neighbour converted a penalty.

Jack Jenkins pulled one back for Barum after half-time.

Manager Barry Yeo said he had no complaints about the result after the team's first half performance.

"In the first half we were dreadful - we started off reasonably well but had a 10 minute spell where we committed suicide," he said.

Barnstaple Town were beaten 3-1 at home to Winchester City. Picture: Andy KeebleBarnstaple Town were beaten 3-1 at home to Winchester City. Picture: Andy Keeble

"You can't give teams a three goal head start, and that's what we did.

"I changed the formation and I will take the blame for that, but we were all over the shop for 10 minutes.

"We tried our hardest in the second half and scored one great goal, but you can't expect to get back in it when you've given three away."

A minute's silence was held prior to kick-off as a mark of respect to the victims of last week's Columbian air crash which saw several members of the Brazillian football team Chapocoense die.

Barnstaple had early attempts at goal through Jenkins and Lee Francis, but after 15 minutes it was goalless.

The tide turned on 23 minutes, when Winchester captain Green opened the scoring.

He found the bottom corner of Steve Oliver's goal moments after James Mayne had an attempt at the other end held.

Barnstaple's misery doubled a minute later when Craig Feeney broke free of his marker to score Winchester's second.

Ten minutes later, the visitors were able to extend their lead further when they were awarded a penalty.

Neighbour made no mistake from the spot, sending Oliver the wrong way and putting the ball into the bottom right corner.

From 3-0, it was always going to be tough for Barnstaple to come back, but they made a fist of it in the second half.

When Jack Jenkins found the net with a beautifully struck volley from the edge of the box six minutes into the second half it could have gone either way.

Lee Francis had an attempt held by keeper Lewis Noice just shy of the hour mark.

Despite plenty of effort, Barnstaple couldn't quite find the second goal they needed to set up a grandstand finish.

Oliver did well to ensure Winchester kept their tally at three, with some excellent saves.

The result means Barnstaple stay in the bottom four, three points behind Paulton Rovers in 18th.

Barum are at home again tonight, welcoming Swindon Supermarine to Mill Road for a re-arranged fixture.

Yeo said: "They were fantastic at theirs earlier in the season, especially in the first half.

"They're all tough in this league, but we need to concentrate on ourselves and do everything that we can to get a result."

A busy fixture schedule continues on Saturday, with a trip to Slimbridge, before a journey to North Leigh on December 13.