Winchester 7 Barnstaple 0
Winchester achieved their biggest win under the management of Craig Davis who in fact began his career as player manager of Winchester with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Barnstaple on this ground. One has to go back to just over two years to see Winchester win a 7-0 victory in the league.
Prior to Saturday Barnstaple had not lost on this ground having obtained a win and a draw on this ground and although some local fans may remember them losing 5-0 at Eastleigh in the F A Cup in 2004/05 with the Beck brothers Martin and Stewart both scoring it was for many Winchester fans the first time they had seen Barnstaple lose.
Barnstaple though went into this match on the back of an excellent 3-0 win against Paulton Rovers and despite their lowly position and not being at full strength they were unbeaten in four league games and had beaten Winchester 3-2 earlier in the season. They bought a sizeable following to the game.
Barnstaple appointed Aaron Harper-Penman as player manager in December and him and his brother Jed were in the starting line-up with a third brother Aidan being amongst the three substitutes. Winchester for their part announced an unchanged starting line-up from the previous Saturday.
The visitors started brightly with Jack Rice-Lethaby and Steve Holland coming close early on. At the other end Rob Carr hit the inside of the post with his effort.
Winchester's task was made easier when Jack Jenkins caught Jamie Barron and received a straight red card. It was not a good challenge, but in many people's eyes a yellow card would have sufficed. Winchester however did not find it easy to create chances against 10 men, but they took the lead in the 38th minute when the referee played a good advantage to allow the ball to be played into the box to Oli Bailey who was fouled by George Nancekivell and Jamie Barron made no mistake from the spot.
Winchester went into the interval with a 1-0 lead, but the first half was not the greatest of spectacles and at half time the home team bought on Joe Hayward and Joe Cook for George Williams and Jake Rawkins.
Winchester got the all important second goal seven minutes into the second half when Dan King put in a cross that was converted by Simba Mlambo. Barnstaple were trying to get back in the game, but apart from a free kick by Stephen Reid which Ryan Pryce saved comfortably they struggled to get shots on target with the extra man making it easier for Winchester to close them down. Winchester for their part were creating half chances but although Jamie Barron had a couple of efforts saved some of their shooting was also off target.
The game however changed with 12 minutes to go when a defensive mistake enabled Rob Carr to set up Oli Bailey to round the goalkeeper and effectively end the match as a contest. Suddenly Winchester were rampant and five minutes later Tyrell Mitford who had just replaced Josh Harfield scored with virtually his first touch following a cross from Joe Hayward.
An excellent run by Liam Gilbert which ended with an excellent shot made it 5-0 and then Mitford scored with an excellently struck free kick to make it 6-0. In added on time Joe Hayward added a seventh as Winchester completed their 13th league victory of the season and their fifth at home.
On Saturday Winchester are away to Bideford and on the following Tuesday play AFC Stoneham at Hamble in the Southampton Senior Cup semi final.