Barnstaple Town 1 - 2 Thatcham Town
By Andy Morris
Thatcham return from the long trip to lowly Barnstaple with all three points following a 2-1 win.
The visitors began brightly with James Tennant lively down the left and Stuart Cattell got on the end of a corner but couldn’t keep the header down.
However it was the hosts that opened the scoring on 8 minutes when Chris Rackley came a long way out to collect a loose ball but saw the Kingfishers immediately lose possession. Howard broke down the left and crossed for Sharp and although Rackley blocked the header, Langford tucked the ball into an empty net.
The game became scrappy on a boggy pitch, but Thatcham enjoyed most the better of the possession and territory and created a great chance through Conor Lynch’s persistence but Adam Kelly blazed over from six yards out. James Tennant curled a free-kick just wide of the near post before the Blues levelled on 42 minutes when Shane Cooper-Clark was fouled down the right. From Kelly’s delivery, Jack Alexander headed in at the far post to register his first Thatcham goal.
The visitors took control at the start of the second half with Tom Melledew’s quickly taken free-kick putting Cooper-Clark though but the keeper came out to block the goal-bound shot with his legs.
Barnstaple had a couple of half-chances as Jenkins and Langford couldn’t keep their efforts down from corners, but the Kingfishers took the lead on 62 minutes. Sol Wheatley brought down James Tennant on the edge of the box and Cooper-Clark blasted home the penalty.
The hosts started to lose their cool, picking up a number of bookings for fouls and dissent. Thatcham looked the more likely to score again, with Lynch unable to convert Alexander’s cross, and Jeacock taking a little too long to get a shot away from Cooper-Clark’s cut-back.
Thatcham brought James Glover, a recent signing from Wantage Town, and youth team player Callum Beasley off the bench for their debuts as manager Danny Robinson’s changes helped wind the clock down. Rackley had to block a late Barnstaple opportunity but Thatcham’s extra quality helped see them home.
Team: Rackley Stanley Angell Cattell Miller Alexander Kelly Melledew Tennant Cooper-Clark Lynch. Subs on : Jeacock Glover Beasley. Sub unused : Frank.