Bristol Manor Farm opened the Steve Hillier Memorial Cup with a victory over Avonmouth FC at The Creek. Returning striker Owen Howe capped his first performance back in a Farm shirt with two goals, and Mike Bryant continued his strong start to pre-season by contributing to the victory with another goal.
Manor Farm started the match on the front foot, and it didn’t take long for Lee Lashenko’s side to make the breakthrough. Kyle Tooze collected the ball from a short corner, and his delightful cross was crashed home off the head of the returning striker, Owen Howe.
But Avonmouth were far from disheartened from Manor Farm’s opener. The celebrations after Howe’s goal had barely died down before Reece Purnell had the ball in the Manor Farm net. Tom Cox for Avonmouth whipped in a low cross, and Purnell’s diving header flew past Harry Thomas-Barker to level the scores.
Manor Farm’s confidence started to grow again, and two chances came and went as they searched for another goal. Marcus Day and Mason Winter both lashed their strikes over the Avonmouth bar.
The match would be decided in a disastrous three minutes for the visitors. Aron Robbins was released down the left-flank, and his perfect cross left Bryant with the simple task of tapping the ball into the net.
Just before the referee was able to blow for the end of the first-half, Robbins’ powerful strike was parried by Aaron Harvey – only for the ever-present Howe to notch in his second of the match.
Manor Farm started the second-half in similar vein. Searching for another goal, Howe couldn’t make a connection from Mason Winter’s cross into the Avonmouth penalty area. Howe was once again in the midst of all of the action, and his low-driven cross fell to Tooze – but his strike was blocked well.
It was almost four on the hour mark. Jaydon Nielson’s chipped pass found Tooze – but his shot steered wide of the goal.
Harvey in the Avonmouth goal was next to keep the score at 3-1. He pulled off a fine save to deny Lloyd Mills’ swerving effort, and then shortly afterwards he blocked another good chance – this time from Robbins.
Robbins was denied again just minutes later. After being put through on goal, visiting defender Luke Armour put in a wonderful last ditch tackle to deny the Farm from scoring again.
With the intensity of the second-half slowly starting to die down, Avonmouth came agonisingly close to scoring a second. Kyle O’Donovan collected a bouncing ball onto his chest, and his instinctive volley crashed off the up-right.
Despite Avonmouth’s late fightback in the match, Bristol Manor Farm held firm to secure the 3-1 victory. The Farm will be back in action on Tuesday evening, when they face either Hallen or Bishops Sutton. Reaction from First-team Manager Lee Lashenko & Returning Striker Owen Howe on our official YouTube channel – Official BMF TV.