Toolstation League premier division: Wellington 2, Barnstaple Town 3

Wellington’s unbeaten run came to an end with an odd-goal defeat by Barnstaple Town at a blustery Playing Field yesterday (Saturday, December 9th).

Our man-of-the-match was Kieran Ireland who was presented with the award by club helper and former player Keith Harcombe from sponsors R&M Wholesale.

But they could hold their heads high after another battling performance against a side who have only lost once in the league this season.

Manager Richard Cherry was forced to make four changes to team who played so well at Buckland Athletic the previous week with Rhys Williams, Josh Young, Tom Burt and Sully McKenna coming into the line-up.

But the Tangerines shocked the highly rated visitors, who had beaten them 6-0 earlier in the season, by going in front after only six minutes.

A shot by Ryan Brereton was blocked and came out to Burt who drove low into the net from 12 yards.

That was the signal for Barnstaple to take the game to Wellington, who suffered a blow when Brereton limped off on the half-hour.

It looked like the hosts would go into the break ahead but it all went wrong as they conceded three goals in seven minutes either side of half-time.

Barnstaple equalised in the third minute of stoppage time as Tor Swan cut in from the left before producing a sublime finish and they went ahead almost immediately when former Wellington striker Harvey Dorothy raced clear to head over keeper Williams.

It went from bad to worse for the shellshocked Tangerines with a third goal straight after the break, this time from a first-time volley by Matthew Bye.

To their credit, Wellington refused to lie down and they reduced the arrears with 15 minutes remaining.

McKenna raced clear and fed man-of-the-match Kieran Ireland who beat keeper Jack Arthur at the second attempt.

That set up an entertaining end to the game, but Barnstaple held on to their lead to take the points back to North Devon.

Wellington now face a big match next Saturday when they travel to bottom club Millbrook, who have yet to win this season.

Wellington: Rhys Williams, Mark Cornish, Tom Stone, Alex Cherry, Josh Young, Sully McKenna, Glen Wright, Kieran Ireland, Josh Lukins, Tom Burt, Ryan Brereton. Substitutes: Gabriel Plant, Ryan Hibbert, Flynn Smith, Jack Bown-Porter (all used).

Photos courtesy of the Around Wellington news and sport website.