Exmouth Town FC eased their way into the preliminary round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win over their North Devon rivals Barnstaple Town, writes John Dibsdall
This was Town’s first victory in the FA Cup since they defeated Wootton Bassett Town 3-2 in 2004 before losing 2-1 to Salisbury City.
Town took the game to the Bet Victor Southern League side from the outset and could have been three goals up in the opening 15 minutes.
Aarron Denny trickery near the byeline set up Jordan Harris but he failed to connect properly, Ben Steer had a shot saved and Ace High raced clear but put his shot wide.
As Town maintained the pressure Harris glanced a header wide, Steer hit the side netting and High was robbed when poised to score.
In a brief attack, Chris Wright was called to make one superb save but the goal Town richly deserved came on 42 minutes.
Denny received the ball on the edge of the box, quickly changed feet to make space and then drilled his shot into the bottom corner.
Two minutes later and a threaded pass from Denny found Harris, who held off a challenge before his strong left foot drive went under the Barum ‘keeper.
The visitors came more into the game at the start of the second half without threatening to score and Town were soon back on the offensive with a header from High bouncing off the top of the crossbar.
Denny had a snap shot that flew narrowly wide with the ‘keeper stranded and then the Bradfords Man of the Match had an effort destined for the top corner before Steve Irish in the ‘Barum goal pulled off a stunning acrobatic save.
High then outjumped the away defence to ‘score’, but his header was ruled out for an alleged push.
Thereafter Town were content to run down the clock and secure a very satisfying victory.
Their reward is a trip to Yate Town on Saturday, August 24.
The Gloucestershire side gained promotion to the Southern League Premier division this coming season and will be the third tough away trip in succession for Town.
This Saturday, August 17, they make the trip to Bitton and then on the following Wednesday they travel down the A38 to take on Plymouth Parkway.
These two sides are the favourites to win the Western League this season having finished third and second behind Willand Rovers last season.
Bitton currently top the division, having scored 11 goals in their opening two matches, while Parkway opened their account with a 7-1 home win over Cadbury Heath.
Both were also successful in their FA Cup matches overcoming other Western League Premier sides; Parkway 1-0 over Buckland Athletic and Bitton 2-1 conquerors of Bridport.
The club are running coaches to Bitton and Yate Town at a cost of £15 per seat. Anyone interested in travelling should contact Martin Cook on 07599 346689.
The official attendance at the Barnstaple game was 301. Of other Western League sides, 181 saw the Parkway game and 177 the ‘local’ derby between Keynsham and Brislington and just 74 the Bitton match.