Strug­gling Barn­sta­ple face Fleet in ‘mas­sive’ bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble show­down

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Football Sport - BY LEE HALL

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.

“De­cem­ber month.

“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

GETTY IMAGES

Jonny Evans says Le­ices­ter need to be wary of Brighton striker Glenn Murray in the game against the Seag­ulls

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