Bristol Manor Farm drew 2-2 away to Hereford Lads Club in pre-season thanks to two late penalties from Ben Bament, writes William Ledbury.
The match sprung into life in the fourth minute when Jayden Nielsen found space, but the winger’s shot stung the palms of Steven Bell who pushed the ball behind for a corner. The resulting kick was floated in, but no one in a red shirt could trouble the Lads Club goal.
The home side created their first chances almost instantly, with Jordan Burke volleying wide and James Hancock failing to beat Ben John from close range.
That being said, Lads Club opened the scoring on 15 minutes through Adam Hockey. Farm failed to get tight to their opposition, and Hockey headed past Ben John despite the veteran keeper getting a touch on the ball.
On 22 minutes played, Farm thought they equalised through Ben Bament. The forward was plagued with a misfortune against Ashton & Backwell in the first-half last Friday, having hit the post on multiple occasions, and Bament struck the post with ferocity against Lads Club when Harry Lucas floated a fantastic ball into the area.
Bament showed pace on 29 minutes to race into the area, but his strike was saved well behind for a corner – only for Bryant to head over at the back post.
Farm’s next best chance came just before the interval. Nielsen once again showed his crossing capabilities from set plays, and Steve Kingdon managed to get a header underway, despite being wrestled to the ground by his opposite number.
The second-half saw George Fowler replace Kye Simpson early on, and it was the former who started Farm’s attack on goal. Nielsen collected the ball from Fowler, and his low cross was met by Bryant who could only stand and watch his strike clash with the post.
Grubb then found space down the right side, beating past two players and striking the ball wide of the far post.
Disaster would follow for Farm’s backline, with the hosts doubling their lead after mixup between Ben Joh and Steve Kingdon. The centre-half received the ball at feet, but was quickly intercepted by a Lads Club forward who squared the ball to Kiea Cowley smashing the ball into the empty net.
Lee Lashenko’s Farm wouldn’t be discouraged as they battled marvellously to claw themselves back into the match. Nielsen, who was a thorn in Lads Clubs side all evening, was wrestled down to the floor in the 83rd minute, giving Farm a clear shot to get back into the match. Bament stepped up and placed the ball into the bottom left corner. 1-2.
Farm’s high-press continued from the restart, and within 60 seconds of scoring from the spot – Nielsen would earn the Portwaymen another penalty. The winger was dragged back, leaving the referee with no choice but to award the night’s second penalty.
Bament placed the ball onto the spot, and chose the same left corner to earn the Farm a draw in what proved to be another hotly-contested fixture. Next up, Farm travel to Cymru Premier side Penybont on Saturday 16 July at 2pm.
STAR MAN, Jayden Nielsen.