Lee Lashenko’s Farmers tame the Stags in thrilling New Forest showdown to earn Bristol Manor Farm their first three points of the season, writes William Ledbury.
Fresh off their midweek victory over Willand Rovers, Saturday’s hosts, Bashley, came into the fixture full of optimism having scored six goals across their two previous triumphs at the GlenMex. In his own words, Manager Lashenko admitted that his side have endured a couple of ‘bloody noses’ after the Farm were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup and Isuzu FA Trophy over the past two weekends. Not to mention, this was Bristol Manor Farm’s fifth consecutive Saturday fixture on the road…
The first half chance fell to Manor Farm as Aron Robbins spotted an opportunity to take a quick throw in on the left hand side to Ben Bament, making his first start since his hamstring injury, who found Brain but Ross Casey did well to throw his body at the strike. Inside the first 15 minutes, Manor Farm sent three fantastic lofted passes out to Evander Grubb who managed to get the better of Rian Drake every time, but Farm couldn’t quite capitalise on these guilt-edged chances. Casey came up trumps once again as Brain found space inside the Bash penalty, but the home keeper was equal to the shot once again. New Manager Ollie Cherrett had seen enough of Drake’s poor first half performance, and was switched out on 35 minutes for the experienced Jamie Webber. Home defender Brad Morris managed to stop Farm from coming forward once again with some smart defending inside the Bash penalty area as Farm looked increasingly more determined to get the half’s opener.
With the scores level at the break, the second period started in similar fast-paced fashion. On 67 minutes the hosts created their best chance of the half. Some neat passes were knocked in and around the area, and Mason Winter expertly timed his sliding tackle right at the crucial moment – with the home side desperately calling for the officials to point to the spot. Jayden Nielsen thought he scored on 70 minutes when his near post header was tipped over from Casey. Whilst it seemed the match would head to a stalemate, Manor Farm’s persistent approach was rewarded in the 84th minute when Evander Grubb raced through to slot the ball past Casey and claim all three points on the road.