SOME would call it fortunate, but Craig Davis reckons there’s a reason Winchester City so often wind up facing ten men.

Four times already this season in league and cup, the Citizens have seen an opposition player red-carded.

The latest – Barnstaple Town’s Chris Ibbeson – got his marching orders after just 30 seconds at Mill Road yesterday for flooring City’s pacy winger Rob Carr on the edge of the box.

And, although Simba Mlambo’s opener for City was quickly snuffed by Billy Hopcroft, two goals from the predatory Oli Bailey and one from defender Rob Flooks ensured Davis’s men returned home handsome 4-1 winners.

It was their third straight league victory, hoisting them to fourth in the Evo-Stik South West.

Davis said: “You could say it’s lucky that players keep getting sent off against us, but I wouldn’t. The pace of our front players - Simba, Oli and Rob - is frightening and teams have not been able to cope with that constant barrage.

“Rob’s nicked it past their defender one-on-one and was through on goal and their lad’s just scythed him down. It was silly, I guess. The defender should have just taken 1-0 and kept 11 on the pitch.”

While Davis felt Winchester were capable of playing better, he was impressed with how they handled awkward opposition.

“Barnstaple are gigantic and just throw the ball in from every angle,” he said.

“We were without Josh Harfield (work commitments), who is probably our tallest player, but Joe Hayward came in at the back and did a sterling job.

"Unlike at Didcot in midweek, we were more controlled in the second half and they never looked like getting back into it.”

Full-back Danny King suffered an impact injury to his shin following a heavy challenge, ruling him out of Tuesday's (7.45pm) Challenge Cup first round tie at home to AFC Totton.

King, though, will not be the only first-team regular missing. Davis intends handing eight young players a debut against the Stags.

“It’s not to degrade the cup,” he clarified. “We’ve got a good youth set-up here and this an opportunity for them.”

City, meanwhile, have signed centre back/central midfielder Joe Cook on a dual registration from Poole Town.