Winning weekend for Western League sides

Joseph Bulmer

NORTH Devon’s assault on this season’s Toolstation Western League title finally got out of the blocks with wins for Barnstaple and Ilfracombe on Saturday.

After two defeats in their opening games, Barum followed up a Wednesday night 1-1 draw at Sherborne Town with a 2-0 weekend win at home to Odd Down.

Meanwhile, Ilfracombe won 3-1 at bottom side Corsham Town, who ended a depressing opening month of their own with a fourth straight defeat.

The hosts looked like reversing their fortunes when Lee Fernandes gave them the lead with half-an-hour played.

But by half-time Ilfracombe were level courtesy of Lee Francis, who five minutes after the break, combined with Mark Clunie to set Marc Bettiss up for ‘Combe’s second.

While the visitors had chances to increase their lead through Bettiss and Shaun Lewis, Corsham produced plenty of good spells themselves but lacked the final touch in front of goal.

Instead, it was the Bluebirds that had the final say following a controversial incident four minutes from time.

A communication breakdown between the Corsham bench and the referee resulted in a disastrous attempt at a substitution; and with play waved on, Lewis capitalised on the confusion to find the net to the protests of the home team.

At Mill Road, Lewis Coombes scored twice as Barnstaple celebrated three points – and a clean sheet against Odd Down.

Coombes got on the end of a Ricky Marinaro cross to head home the first on 20 minutes and grabbed a second 20 minutes from time, George Swain with the assist.

On Wednesday night, Owen Pickard’s side came from behind to take a point from the match against Sherborne.

Barnstaple were set to travel to second-from-bottom Street last night (Tuesday), while Ilfracombe faced a tough trip to league leaders Willand Rovers.

On Saturday, ‘Combe are at home to Bristol Manor Farm while FA Cup football returns to