Barnstaple Town will get some respite from their Toolstation Western League slump with an FA Carlsberg Vase tie on Saturday.
Town go to Almondsbury UWE for the first-round match on the back of three defeats in a week, which brought their unbeaten start in the First Division to a crashing halt.
“It’s a great competition for us to be doing well in,” said Tom Bulley, the Barnstaple manager. “Hopefully we can come away with a result.
“Almondsbury are in the same league as us so we can look at their performances. They will be looking at us and thinking the same – I’m sure they’ll fancy their chances.”
After last week’s 2-1 home defeat to Chard Town, Barnstaple lost by the same scoreline at Portishead Town on Saturday and 5-1 away to Wells City on Tuesday night.
Their three goals all came from the penalty spot, with Jed Harper-Penman scoring against Chard and Portishead, and Billy Tucker against Wells. Little went right in Somerset on Tuesday as Barnstaple finished with nine men.
They were already 2-0 down when goalkeeper Ryan Draper, who had earlier been yellow-carded for dissent, was sent off for a foul on Wells midfielder Toby Cole, forcing defender Darren Hawkings to take over in goal. And all the substitutes had been used when Ryan Turner went off injured 15 minutes from time after colliding with the post.
Lee Begg scored twice for Wells and the other goals came from Jamie Howson, Francis Rolli and James Russell. Tucker’s penalty made it 3-1.
Barnstaple are now fourth in the table, nine points behind leaders Bradford Town.
“We’re certainly realising it is not as easy as we first thought,” said Bulley.
All the goals came in the second half in a surprise defeat to Portishead, who were second from bottom in the First Division and had won only once in their first 10 games.
Kieran Marsden and Nick Steadman put the home side 2-0 before Harper-Penman, in the 90th minute, netted his fifth goal since signing last month.