Toolstation League premier division: Barnstaple Town 3, Wellington 1

We suffered our second away defeat in four days as the Tangerines were beaten in North Devon last night (Tuesday, August 16th).

We were always chasing the game after conceding an early goal although a late rally could have earned us something to take home.

With keeper Rob Hall still injured, young Charlie Hawkings continued in goal while Jamie Nicholson and Sully McKenna came in for Sam Towler, who was on the bench, and Jack Bown-Porter.

Barnstaple, relegated from the Southern League last season, came flying out of the blocks and went ahead after only four minutes. A header was swung over from the left and Brodie Montague rose at the far post to head home.

McKenna, who likes like being a decent addition to the squad, brought a good save out of home keeper Liam Kingston while, at the other end, Hawkings produced a couple of smart blocks to keep it at 1-0.

Barnstaple should have increased their lead on the stroke of half-time but Callum Deemer produced a candidate for miss-of-the-season, turning the ball over the bar from only a yard out with the goal at his mercy.

It was nip and tuck after the break before we suffered a blow on 58 minutes. The home side were awarded a free kick and central defender Tom Stone, who had been having a fine game, was consequently sent to the sin bin for ten minutes.

In his absence, Barnstaple increased their lead after a flurry of action. Miles Quick almost caught Kingston off his line from inside his own half and, after the keeper launched the ball back upfield, a low cross was turned home by striker Stuart Bowker.

Stone returned to the fray but, when sub Tommy Rogers made it 3-0 with a low shot on the turn, it looked like curtains for the visitors.

To our credit, we refused to lie down and pulled a goal back with 12 minutes remaining. Young Jamie Nicholson picked his spot and produced a sublime finish out of Kingston’s reach.

Almost immediately, it could have been 3-2 but Jake Quick failed to get a clean connection at the far post while, in injury time, the striker rounded the keeper only to be denied by a goalline clearance before sub Joe Chamberlain drilled his shot across goal.

Wellington: Charlie Hawkings, Mike Murphy, Tom Stone, Jason Quick, Jamie Nicholson, Stefan Phillips, Eli Collins, Miles Quick, Sully McKenna, Nathaniel Groom, Jake Quick. Substitutes: Sam Towler and Joe Chamberlain (used); Glen Wright and Alex Cherry (not used).

Next up is a trip to newly-promoted Sherborne Town on Saturday (August 20th).