Manager Tom Bulley expects better from Barnstaple Town in Bitton rematch
BARNSTAPLE TOWN have an instant chance for revenge against Bitton in the Toolstation Western League.
After a 3-1 defeat at Mill Road on Saturday, they travel to Bristol for the return fixture this weekend.
And Tom Bulley, the Barnstaple manager, is expecting an improvement on a flat performance that saw them go 3-0 down just after half time.
"I don't think we really got going," he said.
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"The players were a bit frustrated. We know we can offer more than we did on Saturday and hopefully we can put that right when we play at their place.
"We have got probably another 30 per cent to give.
"We have got enough ability in the changing rooms and perhaps one or two of them didn't turn up on Saturday."
James Pilling fired through a crowded penalty area to put Bitton ahead with a shot from the edge of the box.
Any hopes Barnstaple had of building on last week's win at Radstock Town were ended by two quick goals from Daine O'Connor and Mark Salter.
Ryan Ashwood drilled the ball across goal for O'Connor to tap in and Salter, the experienced striker, headed past Adam Fuller.
Barnstaple struggled to create chances with Luke Evans, their centre forward, often isolated.
They did manage a late consolation when Jed Harper-Penman's low cross deflected in for an own goal off Ashwood.
Bridport and Wells City both drew, meaning Barnstaple lost further ground at the foot of the premier division and relegation looks increasingly inevitable.
After conceding five first-half goals in recent home games against Brislington and Odd Down, the result was, at least, an improvement.
"It's good to see we can actually compete against these teams now," said Bulley.
"At least we weren't going into the changing rooms three or four down.
"I have been impressed with our away form.
"We need to change around our home form and make Mill Road a little bit more of a fortress."
Having signed Darren Hawkings from Willand Rovers, Barnstaple are still waiting on the defender to return to fitness.
"He's keen and he wants to get back involved," said Bulley."I think he'll be a great asset for the club."