Barnstaple Town’s unbeaten start to the Toolstation Western League season might have lulled them into a false sense of security.
After going nine games unbeaten at the start of the First Division campaign, Barnstaple have come unstuck with three defeats in a week.
Last night’s 5-1 defeat at Wells City followed losses against Portishead Town on Saturday and Chard Town last Tuesday.
Tom Bulley, the Barnstaple manager, said: “I don’t think it helped going nine games unbeaten. It was nice but maybe we needed a little kick up the backside halfway through that.
“We are certainly realising it is not as easy as we first thought.”
Bulley has backed his current squad to emerge from the slump, starting with Saturday’s FA Carlsberg Vase first-round tie at Almondsbury UWE.
“It’s not a case of a lack of quality,” he said. “A team like that doesn’t turn bad overnight.
“There is enough quality in the changing room but maybe we are lacking a bit of experience.”
Barnstaple were already 2-0 down at Wells last night when goalkeeper Ryan Draper, who had earlier been yellow-carded for dissent, was sent off for a foul on Toby Cole, forcing defender Darren Hawkings to take over in goal.
They were down to nine men in the last 15 minutes when Ryan Turner went off injured, having collided with a post, after Bulley had made his three permitted substitutions.
Lee Begg scored twice for Wells and the other goals came from Jamie Howson, Francis Rolli and James Russell. Billy Tucker’s penalty for Barnstaple, his sixth of the season, made it 3-1.