Barnstaple Town 1 Winchester City 6
Having thrown away a three goal lead the last time they were in action Winchester made no mistake this time as they led Barnstaple 3-0 at the interval and went on to win 6-1 with Simba Mlambo scoring a hat- trick. It made it 13 goals in 2 games against Barnstaple as they beat Barnstaple 7-0 at the Simply Health City ground last season.
Barnstaple had already won at Winchester's ground this season having won beaten Basingstoke 4-3 on the opening day of the league season, but have since then slipped to the bottom of the table and this was their seventh league defeat in a row. They recently appointed as manager Dean Edwards who has also managed Bideford and Hednesford and played for Wolves and Torquay scoring for the latter at Wembley in both the League Trophy final and the league play-off final.
Dean has responded by signing several new players including three in the week before the game in the hope that with a sizeable following they can turn things around, but it can take time for things to gel and in truth on Saturday Winchester very much controlled the midfield.
With Oli Bailey unavailable Winchester made two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with player manager Craig Davis dropping to the bench and Liam Gilbert and Max Smith coming in. There was a welcome return to the substitutes bench which also included Rob Carr for Kieran Douglas and Ollie Griggs both of whom were returning from injury.
Early on in proceedings Jamie Barron had a free kick tipped over by Steve Oliver in the home goal. while Jordan Charran at the other end forced a save from Ryan Prycee. Both teams then had half chances, but Winchester began to get on top with Liam Gilbert putting supplying some cross field passes and Robbie Flooks coming close with a header.
Winchester gained the lead when Oliver was unable to hold on to Gilbert's shot and Mlambo followed up to score. It became 2-0 10 minutes later when Mlambo scored his second following a goalmouth scramble. Ollie Balmer then had an effort blocked and then Barnstaple had one of their best spells of the game with Charran having an effort blocked and Javan Wright forcing Pryce to save at the expense of a corner. However their hopes of getting back in the game suffered a setback when I K Hill scored Winchester's third on the stroke of half time.
Barnstaple had a couple of efforts blocked at the start of the second half, but Mlambo was put clean through 10 minutes later to complete his hat- trick. Winchester were now opening up the home defence more and more and four minutes later Jamie Barron made it 5-0.
Simba Mlambo also had another shot saved and also shot over when well placed, but Barnstaple did pull a goal back when Kieran Douglas who had come on as substitute as had Rob Carr and Dan Williamson handled in the box and Saddam Bello converted the resulting penalty. Rob Carr though still had time to make the score 6-1 and it is difficult to recall Craig Davis enjoying such an emphatic victory in an away fixture since taking over as Winchester boss.
Barnstaple's Jordan Charran was given a second yellow card towards the end, but it was a good performance by Winchester.