A chilly Friday night at The NL Services Stadium saw Manor Farm and Bishop’s Cleeve share the spoils, writes Jack Davies.
Conditions were not at a premium for these two clubs as they met for a third time already this season. In took until the tenth minute for either side to create a meaningful attack each. Tony Holland struck over from range for Cleeve before Evander Grubb’s attempted backheel flick trickled across goal and wide. Both sides did look a threat from set plays, however. Former Farm man Josh Nelmes headed over from a visitor’s corner and Harry Lucas forced a fine save from a corner at the other end. Cleeve would take the lead on the half hour after some individual quality. Toby Holland collected the ball well out wide and after he was allowed to advance inside too easily, his curling effort flew into the far corner. Farm would have a couple of chances before the break. Jayden Nielsen slalomed through a few challenges and forced another save from the Cleeve keeper before Josh Ford’s looping header bounced just beyond the far post.
A much better second half performance from Farm began just a minute in. Nielsen with more good work down the left and his low cross found Aron Robbins whose shot was too central to trouble the visiting keeper. The closest Cleeve came to doubling their lead was almost of Farm’s own making. A short back pass was stolen by Ethan Dunbar, who looked to have the goal at his mercy before he lost his footing and Seth Locke bravely dived on the loose ball. That slice of luck at the back proved decisive as Farm levelled in spectacular style. Grubb waltzed past the sprawling Nelmes and his cut back to the edge of the area allowed George Kellow to sweep the ball into the very top corner for his first goal for the club. It was all Farm in the games latter stages as they seized the momentum. Ollie Woodhouse won two emphatic headers at the back post and the second of which fell for Ford, who just couldn’t get over his volley from close range. The closest Farm came to a winner was through that man Nielsen again. He charged down a defensive clearance before his deflected effort span off the base of the post and somehow didn’t fall to Ben Bament, who was following in with intent. Bament would have his own chance to win it too. Neat work by Grubb and Nielsen led to latter finding Bament, who’s low effort not only missed the target but somehow missed the sliding defender, whose touch would have surely sent the ball into the net.