Bristol Manor Farm booked themselves a place in Mondays Second Qualifying Round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup, with two first half goals from Owen Howe being enough to see off ‘The Sods’ at The Ridings on Saturday afternoon.
The high-flying Farm number 10 unfortunately denied himself the chance of an FA Cup hat-trick when he reacted badly to a second-half challenge (originally made on team-mate Jamie Adams) and received a red card from the referee for Violent Conduct and now faces an automatic 3-match ban.
There is no guarantee of course that Howe would have scored again in the second half but with the striker in such a rich vein of goalscoring form at this early stage of the season (and scoring his 9th and 10th in a powerhouse first-half display of this cup-tie) you really wouldn’t have bet against it.
Farm boss Lee Lashenko made just one change from his starting line-up which had so thrillingly beaten Bideford after extra time on Tuesday night to earn his side this trip to Chipping Sodbury – Stuart Tovey returning at right-back and pushing Farm’s Mr Versatile Jamie Adams further up into midfield with Jordan Metters rested to the bench. Metters himself was a difficult drop to make for the Farm manager after his former skippers hugely influential contribution in the win against Bideford. But Jamie Adams has also proved invaluable for the Manor Farm Manager this season having played at both left and right back as well as his preferred position in midfield.
The Wickwar Road and The Ridings were buzzing ahead of this eagerly-awaited cup-tie and after just 5 minutes Danny Lock floated a long-ball over the heads of the visitors back four which Jack Parker just failed to get a touch on.
Farm settled down quickly after this and began to look dangerous themselves – particularly down the flanks. Tovey saw his cross tipped over after good link up play down the right with Adams and Aron Robbins was always looking to overlap with anyone available in a yellow shirt down the left.
Chas Hemmings clipped the top of the Chipping Sodbury crossbar in the 19th minute with a sweetly hit free-kick from 20 yards out as Farm started to take control of the game.
Less than five minutes later Manor Farm took the lead when ‘Jay’ Adams picked up a clearance 40 yards from goal and threaded a slide-rule pass through a rush of players to the feet of Owen Howe who had his back to goal on the edge of the 18-yard box. Howe turned, advanced and brushed off two defenders before firing a fierce shot high into the near post corner of the net to beat Jack Dando’s sprawling dive.
Ten minutes later the Farm hot-shot was at it again – thanks to great understanding with his strike partner Dean Stamp. From deep Stamp hit a beautiful lofted pass onto Howe’s run behind the back four and once he was inside the box Howe only looked like doing one thing and he did it – slamming the ball home for 2-0 and Farm looking comfortable at half-time.
As has been too often the case perhaps this season Manor Farm somehow seemed to find a way to make life more difficult for themselves than it should be and it’s fair to say that Howe’s regrettable dismissal in the 52nd minute knocked the ten-man Farm out of of their steady, relentless rhythm and chances and goal-scoring opportunities – so abundant in the first half – slowed to a mere handful during the second.
Skipper Jack Durrant worked tirelessly in the engine room to keep the team rolling but only Dean Stamp went close up front when he chested and volleyed from the edge of the box forcing a fingertip save by Dando for a corner.
Stamp was replaced with ten minutes to go and substitute Troy Simpson went about creating chances of his own immediately in a lively cameo performance. In the 82nd minute Simpson hustled and robbed the ball off a tiring Town defender, bustled his way into the box and cleverly beat Dando at his near post – hitting the ball with the outside of his right foot around the keepers inside only to see the ball unluckily clip the outside of the post.
A comfortable win in the end for The Portwaymen – good value for their advancement into the next round – where it will be Simpson and Stamp who will be looking to catch-up in the scoring charts with ten-goal Owen Howe, who’ll still be serving out his suspension – an unwanted item picked up along with another great brace here today.
STAR MAN (Jamie Adams, Bristol Manor Farm)
2x Owen Howe