Paulton Rovers made it successive cup progressions at The Creek as they held on for a 2-1 victory against Bristol Manor Farm on Saturday afternoon, writes Matchday Reporter Jack Davies.
Paulton eventually won the enthralling Southern League Challenge Cup tie on Tuesday evening, via a penalty shootout, and carried that momentum into Saturday’s FA Trophy fixture when they took the lead early on.
Ben John had already made two fine stops in the match before he was finally beaten by Ed Butcher. The forward seized on some lapse defending, before tucking the ball into the corner.
Manor Farm then wasted a big change to equalise shortly afterwards. Midfielder Lloyd Mills turned superbly in a congested area, but his chipped effort sailed over.
The visitors then had a pair of chances to double their lead. Liban Ibrahim raced clear of Steve Kingdon, but the advancing John did brilliantly to save.
When John was beaten a minute later, he had teammate Josh Ford to thank. Butcher rounded the keeper, but his low effort was cleared in the nick of time by the aforementioned defender.
Farm then should levelled on the half hour mark. Great work from Bament as he turned inside and found Owen Howe, who’s fierce shot was saved well by the flying Aaron Sainsbury after faking past a Paulton defender.
Paulton would take their narrow lead into half-time, but not after a couple more chances to extend. Ibrahim bending a free-kick just wide before Farm defender Sam Boulton timed a last ditch tackle to perfection to thwart Nathan Brown.
Farm came out for the second-half with a much higher tempo, but it wasn’t long before further defensive woes came to light again.
Butcher, who was allowed in far too easily, had ample time and space to find the unmarked Leighton Thomas who rifled home on the counter attack.
A free-kick apiece almost swung the game on the hour mark. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist’s curler was brilliantly saved by visiting keeper Sainsbury, before Paulton’s Will Harvey could only stand and watch his own whipped set piece cannon off the inside of John’s post and roll to safety.
Manor Farm would get a goal back to set up a grandstand finish. Kyle Tooze showed brilliant persistence to hurry defender James Byrne into a mistake, before his sliding pass found Howe who had the easiest task of rolling his third goal in five days.
Buoyed by Howe’s strike, Manor Farm almost drew level just minutes afterwards. Substitute Jayden Nielsen sent Howe out wide, and his low cross to Tooze was expertly intercepted by Rovers’ Dan Dempsey.
Farm’s comeback mountain got even steeper with 15 to play. Captain Aron Robbins, already booked five minutes before for a late challenge, was given his marching orders for an equally poor tackle on Brown.
John twice denied an insurance goal for the visitors, before Manor Farm came close to forcing another shootout when Tooze’s snapshot was blocked late on.
Bristol Manor Farm’s trilogy of fixtures against Paulton Rovers will be concluded next Saturday when Lee Lashenko’s team travel to Somerset for matchday 11 in the Pitching In Southern League. Ticket and travel information for next week’s fixture will be posted across our website and social media channels midway through next week. Thank you for your support this afternoon, and we look forward to seeing you in Paulton.