Bristol Manor Farm were crowned champions of the Steve Hillier Memorial Cup on Saturday afternoon, when they defeated Shirehampton FC 3-0 at the sun-kissed Creek stadium. Goals from Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist, Aron Robbins, and Steve Kingdon ensured the Farm will start next season with silverware. Jack Davies was on-hand to cover the action….
As the sun beamed down onto the Creek, it was the Farm who started the match the brightest of the two sides; Captain Robbins slipped past two Shirehampton defenders, but his heavy touch led him to trouble and the chance was eventually cleared.
George Brimson created the visitor’s first opportunity when his dipping free-kick bounced awkwardly in front of Manor Farm Keeper, Harry Thomas-Barker, but the Welshman did well to tip the ball around the post.
The next real opportunity of the match fell to Manor Farm. Full-back Mason Winter was allowed too much space on the right flank, but his initial cross was cleared only for Leigh-Gilchrist to skew his cross-cum-shot wide of the back post.
Mike Bryant was the next player to try his luck. With Manor Farm growing in confidence, the central midfielder picked up the scraps and curled an effort that would agonisingly clip the bar.
Manor Farm’s pressure would eventually tell on the half-hour mark; Leigh-Gilchrist dropped his shoulder, leaving his opposite number behind, and unleashed a wicked strike to put the Farm one-nil up against Shirehampton.
Despite falling behind, Shire would stay resilient in their search for a response; Greening’s header looked like it would end up in the Manor Farm net, but defender Sam Boulton was on-hand to block.
The Farm were rewarded for their first-half dominance on 41 minutes. Winter again with a fantastic cross, and despite Owen Howe’s miss-kick, Robbins smashed the ball home for the Portwaymen’s second.
Farm were nearly orchestrators of a Shire comeback just before the break, Thomas-Barker spilling a cross that Stuart Tovey had to hack clear on the goal-line.
Much like their start to the first-half, Manor Farm came out for the second period in much of the same vein. Visiting keeper, Matt Turner, was forced into a good save after Jayden Nielson attempted to make it three.
The moment of the tournament came in the 51st minute, and it was one that Steve Kingdon would be immensely proud of. Kingdon collected the ball from 30-yards, and unleashed an unbelievable strike that would fly into the far top corner.
Instead of settling after their third, Manor Farm looked far from finished in the final of the Steve Hillier Memorial Cup. Substitute Kyle Tooze flashed two efforts just over, before Bryant somehow fashioned an effort that drifted narrowly-wide.
Nielson, who controlled the most part of the game from midfield, almost capped his performance with a goal. The creative midfielder broke into the box after a short corner, but his effort was well saved from Turner.
After a flurry of late substitutions, Manor Farm would see the result out and be crowned champions of the Steve Hillier Memorial Cup. It has been a blistering start to pre-season, following a difficult four month absence from competitive action. Wins against Avonmouth, Hallen, and Shirehampton will have given Lee Lashenko’s side a platform to build on ahead of another important season in the Southern League Division One South.
Bristol Manor Farm would like to thank all participating clubs, committee members, volunteers, and the Harrington Family for their excellent service in the club’s cup competition. It’s been a wonderful eight days, and a tournament that we’re sure Steve would have been proud of. Thank You!
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