Winchester City and Bristol Manor Farm will face off in a shootout for promotion to the Southern League Premier South this May Bank Holiday, a division which neither side has reached in their history, and Farm Manager Lee Lashenko insists his side is going to be “moving heaven and earth” to win the match for Geoff’s legacy. We caught up with Lashenko to talk about the club in advance of Monday’s final down on the South Coast.

Since Lashenko’s introduction to Bristol Manor Farm in the 2013/14 season, the club has enjoyed featuring in a number of high-profile matches from Sunderland RCA in the FA Vase to Tuesday night’s clash at Badgers Hill in the semi-final of the play-offs – nevertheless, Monday afternoon’s game merits particular attention as we look to reach the Southern League Premier South for the first time in our history.

“Bristol Manor Farm is used to playing in matches with high importance,” Lashenko began. “We’ve played against Slough Town, Wealdstone and most recently Cray Wanderers – but this match will be the biggest for lots of different reasons. 

“When I sat down with Geoff Sellek at the beginning of my tenure, we worked out a plan to reach the Southern League which was accomplished in the 2016/17 season and around five years ago we set the challenge of becoming the first Bristol-based club to play regular conference football,” Lashenko expressed. 

“We know we’re two leagues away from hitting that goal, but we’re into a one-off shootout match on Monday with a view to taking care of one of those promotions. We’re relishing this opportunity mind you. We’re not scared of the task at hand, and I’m sure the same will be said for Winchester. 

“It’s what I would say are two very good sides facing up against each other, and the players for both teams will want to express themselves,” said Lashenko.

On Friday morning, the club learned about the tragic passing of club legend and stalwart “Mr Bristol Manor Farm”, Geoff Sellek, following his brave battle with cancer. Bristol Manor Farm has been overwhelmed by the love and support received by the footballing community, with clubs all over the country paying their respects across social media this weekend – and Lashenko knows that Monday’s match is all about honouring Geoff’s iconic legacy at The Creek and beyond.

“Geoff has been my boss for the past ten years, and he will continue to be on Monday when the match kicks off at 3pm,” Lashenko said.

“Whatever happens after this season is out of my control, but we’re going to be moving heaven and earth to ensure that we win the match for Geoff’s legacy. It’s going to be an emotional day, regardless of the outcome, and I know he will be looking down on us with great pride because he was a class act,” said Lashenko.

Monday’s final at Winchester City kicks off at 3pm. The club will be supported by a coach and three minibuses full of supporters from The Farmy Army, plus a large contingent making their own way to Hampshire. Let’s bring it home Farm, and we look forward to seeing everyone at Hillier Way.