Defeats make it harder but Laird still confident

Barnstaple Town manager Craig Laird says every game they lose makes it harder to survive in Southern League Division One South – but there is still hope they will pull off their ‘little miracle’.

Laird, who took over just after Christmas, brought in plenty of players to turn things around at Barnstaple – and the team have certainly closed the gap between low and safety in the table. But Tuesday night’s 4-1 defeat at Plymouth Parkway was certainly a blow after a fine win at the weekend.

On Saturday, Barnstaple beat Mangotsfield United 2-1 with Owen Howe scoring twice from the penalty spot. After two defeats, it was a good win for Laird’s side who, after Tuesday night’s defeat, are five points clear of Cinderford Town.

Speaking about the result at Parkway, Laird said: “It was disappointing for us because we should have done better. If we claim to be a better team, we have to do better than that.”

After two good wins over Slimbridge and Larkhall Athletic, and a draw against top-flight AFC Totton, Laird said subsequent games would be tough and that proved with defeats to Cirencester Town and Frome Town. Bouncing back against Mangotsfield was exactly what he predicted.

“Against a tougher team at Parkway, we tried to open up a bit, but we weren’t good enough to do that yet, so we’re going to go back to plan B and be really tough to beat.

“We have to try to get some more results.

“But we now have a week off without a game on Saturday so we can iron out some issues before another big game against Willand Rovers.”

It will be another tough game, but Laird said: “I tell the players it’s a good level.

“I’m still confident, but as each game goes by and we don’t win, it gets harder and harder.”



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Bideford in the same division, drew 2-2 at Melksham Town on Saturday and they also have a Saturday off before Parkway visit next Tuesday night.

They are only 10 points ahead of Barnstaple themselves.

In the West League Premier Division, Town of Ilfracombe were beaten 3-0 at Mousehole in Cornwall. They are absent at Shepton Mallet this weekend.

There was a victory in the North Devon Peninsula League derby for Holsworthy on Tuesday night when they beat Torridgeside 2-1 after a 5-1 win at Plymouth Marjon on Saturday.

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