Struggling Barnstaple face Fleet in ‘massive’ bottom-of-the-table showdown
Despite Barnstaple’s recent revival, joint manager Dave Griffiths will be taking nothing for granted when the team takes on Fleet Town in what he says is a ‘massive’ bottom-of-the-table battle this weekend.
Southern League Division One South side Barum have given their survival chances a huge boost after a three-match winning run, which was brought to an end on Saturday as they went down to a controversial 3-1 defeat at home to Evesham Town.
Confidence is high in the Barnstaple camp after Griffiths’ side pro- duced one of the shock results of the season less than a fortnight ago when they won 2-1 at league leaders Yate Town.
And, despite Saturday’s setback, Griffiths says his players will continue to play with belief after ending their ten-match losing streak at the end of last month when they won 4-1 at Paulton Rovers.
But he warned: “They [Fleet] won at the weekend [at Cinderford Town], and we’ve lost to them already [in the FA Trophy] – so we know it’s going to be difficult.
“It’s not an easy place to go, there’s a little bit of a slope and hardly any grass, so it’s going to be a real test for the players.
“It’s a strange league, anyone can beat anyone, but there is no negativity in the squad, there is belief after the Yate result, and even after Saturday’s defeat the players are feeling positive.”
Two contentious refereeing decisions went against Barnstaple on Saturday, when Harry Stevens was on the receiving end of a bad challenge from the Evesham goalkeeper, who only received a yellow card.
And similarly, a rash tackle from an Evesham defender also only warranted a caution from the referee.
Griffiths said: “Decisions like these do make a difference, and on another day the referee would have given a couple of red cards.
“Then, when we were chasing the game they scored a third goal in the injury time.
He added: “They were just a little more street wise than us, there was nothing in it and I think a draw would have been a fair result.”
Barnstaple will be boosted by the return of Jack Jenkins this weekend, though they will be without Ross Middleton due to work commitments.
Victory on Saturday could take Barum out of the relegation zone for the first time since the opening weeks of the season.
They are one point behind Mangotsfield United and two adrift of Bristol Manor Farm.
Griffiths said: “If you look at the table a couple of weeks ago we were about eight points adrift, and now we only need one win to take us out of the bottom two.
“We have seven league games, and after our recent run hopefully we can continue picking up points and move up the table.”
will be a massive
Jonny Evans says Leicester need to be wary of Brighton striker Glenn Murray in the game against the Seagulls