THE future is looking brighter for Barnstaple Football Club.

After a traumatic start to the year, Town on Saturday unveiled a new main sponsor for the club in local firm the Car Care Centres – and its young team responded immediately by christening their new kit with a Western League win over Bristol Manor Farm in front of their home supporters.

Dave Payne, MD at the Car Care Centres, said: “As an independent local business we always like to support local clubs and charities, especially those that are involved with the young people. We have sponsored the rugby club, especially their younger teams, and have previously sponsored Bideford Football Club. I feel it is important that businesses should support the local clubs and put something back. In these times money is short and we are happy to do what we can to help out.”

Barnstaple Town’s acting chairman Dave Cooke said the club was happy to have another local firm to fill the breach and hoped the partnership would prove good to both sides and continue.

“We now have a young local side who have proved they can hold their own on the field and a local sponsor,” he said.

Town gained their second win of the campaign with a 1-0 victory over visiting Manor Farm.

They started well adapting to the wet conditions better and deservedly took the lead through their skipper Karl Bassett, who led by example and scored the winning goal after 38 minutes.

Town stayed in control for 65 minutes of the match, looking comfortable at 1-0 and with no real danger of conceding. But the pattern of the game then changed when young debutant Will Marchlands was sent off for a professional foul.

Brislington were back in the game and Barnstaple had to weather a 25-minute storm. But they stood firm and keeper Darren Rose was still not really troubled.

The Barnstaple youngsters were clapped off the field by the Mill Road faithful. It was good to see the way supporters were really getting behind their team and helping them on, said manager Dave Griffiths.

Barnstaple have lost midfielder George Swain to St Blazey, but are hoping to fill the gap with a couple of young loan players from Exeter City.

Barnstaple were away to Buckland Athletic last night (Tuesday) and will be at home to Willand Rovers on Saturday.

UNLUCKY ILFRACOMBE LOSE TO LEAGUE LEADERS

ILFRACOMBE suffered their second successive home defeat, narrowly beaten 2-1 at home to league leaders Brislington.

There was little to choose between the teams and manager Ross Middleton thought his side did enough to show they can compete in this league. “They are top of the league and only conceded one goal in 4 or 5 games, but we were more than equal to them,” he said. They’ve left here knowing they’ve sneaked a win they probably didn’t deserve, but when you’re on a winning run you get that bit of luck sometimes.”

Combe started the game looking like a team with a point to prove after their 4-0 hammering last week. But the visiting keeper was equal to everything Combe threw in his direction.

Billy Tucker caused all sorts of problems down the wing and on one of his many productive runs was brought down inside the box for what looked to be a penalty, but the referee waved it away.

Combe didn’t let it deter them and continued to press throughout the first half .

Brislington started with more confidence in the second half and Combe lost manager Middleton with hamstring trouble after five minutes. Within minutes they were 1-0 down when they briefly switched off and Brislington’s runners broke from midfield to punish them.

Number two soon followed when Combe tried to play offside, but Brislington broke clear down the right and the cross was bundled in.

Combe responded well and pulled a deserved goal back when Billy Tucker turned two players inside out before knocking the ball back for Ryan Tuner to head home. They came close to getting an equaliser on 90 minutes when Shaun Copp’s half volley strike forced a finger tip save from the visiting keeper.

“We deserved a draw at least today, but it was about getting a response from the players after last week and they certainly did that,” said Middleton. “The goals we’ve conceded were a bit weak and something we need to work on, but the overall play was excellent. Billy Tucker and Ryan Turner were particularly good today. They both understood the shape and jobs I want them to do and they’ve set the bar in terms of performance I expect from now on.”

Combe face Brislington at home again on Saturday, this time in the FA Vase