Bristol Manor Farm 2 Barnstaple Town 2

Despite being two goals behind it was Manor Farm with head in hands as a totally dominant second half only earned them a share of the spoils as they hosted Barnstaple Town.

After a pretty dire 10 minutes the game sprung to life at both ends, first Billy Hopcraft judged the bounce better than his Farm counterparts but was denied by the sweeping Ben John and then Lucas Vowles turned smartly after a swift counter attack but his goal bound effort deflected wide. The visitors were giving up the majority of possession but capitalising on errors and space and it was this that led to their opener, Theo Ofori latching on to a loose ball and rounding John before defeating a narrow angle to find a smart finish. It was nearly 2 a minute later, Hopcroft crashing off the bar from distance and the rebound was put over. Barnstaple keeper dealt with a tame free kick from Marcus Day and then 5 minutes later his side doubled their advantage, a flowing move falling to Hopcroft who rifled home an unstoppable effort. Farm finally woke up and were creating chances, Vowles and Lewis Bamford missing decent chances before a wondeful move right on the stroke of half time got them back in the game. Mason Winter finding Tyler Ashmead whose clever cut back found Day who faked inside and placed a wondeful finish in the far corner.

Farm should have been level minutes into the second half, Mike Bryant sliding in after a spillage by keeper Adam Evans but was rather unfairly denied by the awarding of a free kick. Farm were deservedly level after 52 minutes, a succession of corners finally led to another goalmouth scramble and the linesman flagging the ball has crossed the line, I think every single Farm attacker claimed it but I’m not sure we’ll ever know! Farm were really pushing now, Day with another clever fake shot before unleashing an effort that was superbly blocked. On the hour mark they were somehow still level, Ashmead again with a lovely run and cut back but Bamford lashed wildly over. Winter was next to go close, another free-kick in a promising position but his low effort was well saved. Despite absolute dominance it was the visitors who nearly went ahead in the 70th minute. Ofiri weaved in and out but bent his effort wide. The onslaught then continued, a stunning tackle from Bryant led to a loose ball falling to Winter who could only fire over. As the game ticked to 80 Farm kept coming, Day with more majestic footwork had him leave 3 men for dead but his shot was well blocked. Next was Vowles who turned sharply but couldn’t find Bryant at the far post. Barnstaple couldn’t even resist troubling their own goal, Evans errant punch nearly dropping in at his back post under pressure from Bamford. Farm then had momentum halted with a red card with minutes to play, the ref failing to punish a visiting forward for a dive before he hit the floor again with extra theatrics following a push from Winter, which saw the Farm man sent off. Farm would still push the visitors back but a looping Jamie Turner header sailed just wide at the last.

Star man – Marcus Day