The long trip to Barnstaple resulted in a goalless stalemate. It was one of those days when the ball just didn't fall right for the Larks despite so many chances we spectators lost count.
Hopes were high in the very hectic early stages of the game - around 2 minutes in - when Nat Auckland
supplied a cross to Jamie Lyons
who fired wide from close range. Seconds later Nat himself had a shout, then Nick headed too close to the keeper after a corner. This was to set the pattern of the match overall although Barnstaple did get back into it somewhat halfway through the first half. Ben Horan
then forced a goal line clearance just before the whistle.
A strong performance in midfield - Tom Welch
made a series of characteristically decisive runs forward and Luke Scott
impressed on the left wing - provided Nat and Jamie with chances and in the second half in particular we were winning corners and throw-ins like there was no tomorrow. Jamie narrowly missed a couple of very inviting chances and also had a goal ruled out for offside. The Larks kept battling for the ball and Nat's interventions gave the Barnstaple keeper a few nervous moments. We were pressing hard and with the introduction of Jonny Davoile
holding the ball up rather better in the middle of the park but the final breakthrough never materialised. At the other end, given fresh confidence by our inability to press home the advantage, Barnstaple made a few breaks, exploiting the space made available by the Larks playing a forward game, but our back line of Gary Thorne
, Nick Hudson
and Adam Tyers
dealt with the threat with equanimity. Towards the end of the game Chris Snoddy
had to make an excellent save to keep the scores level and to notch up his third consecutive clean sheet.
A frustrating afternoon overall and we departed from Devon regretting the missed chances in a game that we pretty much dominated.