A contentious red card was the turning point as Manor Farm crashed out of the FA Cup away to Exmouth.
In what must be one of the fastest FA Cup goals of the weekend, Farm found themselves a goal ahead inside the first minute. Jamie Bird picked himself up after being fouled and his near post free kick crept in past the home keeper. As quickly as Farm were ahead they were pegged back, Aaron Denny seizing on a loose header and his low finish deflected in. Farm pushed on after that and the game almost had a third as early as the 5th minute, a headed clearance dropped onto the foot of Jamie Short but it just flew over. Mike Bryant was next to try his luck and it was again from a volley, his sweetly struck shot was goalbound but was well blocked. Bryant turned provider a few minutes later, his persistence sent the ball towards Bird whose low shot was well saved. The games big turning point came on the half hour, Theo Llewellyn given his marching orders despite any sign of a suposed victim, and Farm were somehow down to 10. Farm rallied well, a couple of Ford clearances preserved parity before it was the visitors who ended the half the strongest, Short carried the ball well before laying again to Bird but his effort was sent wide.
Exmouth fired over in their first attack of the second half before Tooze almost restored the lead. Slaloming between 3 challenges before his blocked cross dropped into the grateful hands of the keeper. Exmouth went ahead after 5 minutes, a bad moment for Thomas-Barker whose fumble hit Ben Steer and the ball dropped in. Farm had claims for a red of their own, Bryant caught with an elbow for the second time, nothing given. Farm were knocking on the door as the game reached the hour mark but found stubborn hosts and a rare Exmouth attack in the second half almost sealed the game. More sloppy defending set Steer away but Thomas-Barker made a superb save. The hosts then came inches away from a third, good work down the left led to a low cross and the ball thundered off the bar before Josh Ford hacked clear. A superb defensive header from Boulton saw the defender met with another elbow, despite lengthy protests and a broken nose, once again nothing given. Farm would then suffer their own slice of bad woodwork luck, Kyle Tooze’s cross shot lopped towards goal and the keeper was fortunate to see his flailing arm tip the ball onto the bar and Owen Howe follow up was blocked. As the game ticked towards the final whistle, Farm would go inches away from stealing a replay, the debutant Ben Courtier crossed to the back post and captain Aron Robbins header glanced just wide. The final chance came again from Tooze, another beautiful cross fell to Howe whose swivelled volley fell just over. Farm pressed and pressed late on but it wasn’t to be and the hosts progressed.