Cockles slip closer to drop after narrow defeat at Barum

PUBLISHED: 10:02 14 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:02 14 February 2017

Cockles action from the game at Barnstaple

Cockles action from the game at Barnstaple

Archant

Exmouth suffered a 19th defeat in 22 National Tow (S) outings when beaten 13-6 at fellow strugglers Barnstaple.

The defeat leaves the Cockles 13 points from safety and, with the games running out, avoiding the drop will certainly be something of a ‘great escape’!

With eight games to go it is likely that the Cockles will need to win – at the very least – four of them to have any hope of survival.

Despite travelling up the North Devon Link Road with a squad depleted by injury and unavailability, the Cockles made a bright start and scored first with George Meadows slotting a fourth minute penalty.

It took Barum 19 minutes to restore parity with a successful penalty kick of their own.

Just before the break Meadows rifled a second penalty between the posts and the Cockles led 6-3 at the break.

The home side missed an early second half penalty, but then scored one to make it 6-6 and that’s the way the score remained until the final 10 minutes when the Cockles, crucially, were reduced in number following a yellow card handed to Mike Richards for a high tackle.

The Cockles dug deep and got to within four minutes of securing a draw, but their resistance was finally broken by a converted Barum try that sent them home with nothing to show for their efforts.

Exmouth began their final eight matches with a visit from third bottom Barnes this Saturday (February 18).

The final eight matches involved four games against sides in the current top seven – home to Cinderford (6) on March 11, away to Old Elthamians on March 25, home to seventh placed Canterbury on April 1 and home to Bishop Stortford on April 22.

They also play at 11th placed Bury St Edmonds on March 4 and at ninth placed Clifton on April 8 before bringing the curtain down on the campaign with an April 29 visit to Worthing Raiders.

All is not yet lost for if, all four home games could be won then that might well be enough to extend the Cockles stay in National Two (S) for another year.

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