Barnstaple Town 3 - 0 Paulton Rovers
By Steven Longden
BARNSTAPLE CURSE STRIKES DOWN ROVERS AGAIN
Devon club Barnstaple completed a league double with a deserved 3-0 win over Paulton Rovers.
Rovers started the brighter with plenty of creativity by Jay Malpas in midfield and the Barum keeper had to be at his best to first deny Harvey at his near post and then did well to palm away a Mitch Tippins pile driver in the 14th minute.
After a dominant opening 15 minutes by Rovers, Barnstaple started to claw their way back into the game and it took some heroic defending by Hillard and Tippins at the back to keep the scores level. On the 36th minute Rovers had perhaps their best chance of the game when Sammy Jordan got through on goal but again, keeper Steve Oliver was equal to it.
It was on the 42nd minute that the home side got the break through when Forster punched clear a corner, it was Harper-Penman who was the first to react and turned the ball home to give Barnstaple the half-time lead.
In the second half, Rovers Manager John Rendell rang the changes introducing Jack Ball at half-time looking to find that same creative flair that saw his side beat Moneyfields last week but this was a day where a well organised Barnstaple side defied their position in the league table and kept Rovers chances to a minimum and at the same time looked dangerous on the counter with the useful Sol Wheatley at the heart of most things going forward.
With the game opening up in the last 10 minutes, Forster had to be at his best not once, but twice in the 80th minute making a great double save but the killer blow for Rovers came in the 84th minute when Wheatley pulled a cross back only for the ball to cruelly bounce of Hitchings and into the net to make it 2-0. Then on the 88th minute it really was game over as Saddam Bello fired home to make it 3-0 and secure all 3 points for the home side.
A disappointing day for Rovers after excellent recent performances.
Full Time: Barnstaple Town 3 - 0 Paulton Rovers