Manor Farm started 2022 in emphatic fashion as they swept away play-off rivals Melksham to win 4-0 at the Oakfield arena, writes Matchday Reporter Jack Davies.Farm had ended 2021 with a cruising 3-0 win away to local rivals Mangotsfield and despite the extended break before this game, they continued in the same vein here. Mike Bryant won a free kick in the opening minutes and Jake Gosling’s strike was parried wide by Matt Hall. From the resulting corner, Hall had to be alert again, saving a towering Bryant header.
The hosts’ first chance came down their left, with Jake Mawford firing wide after a well worked counter.
A training ground quick free-kick almost gave Farm the lead after 10 minutes, Winter combining with Gosling then Grubb before the full backs cross was headed wide by Josh Ford.
Farm would take the lead in their next chance, Bryant slipped Gosling through and he was clattered by Hall, resulting in a Farm penalty. Ben Bament took responsibility and hammered the ball home.
Gosling was involved again as Farm tried to ram home the advantage. Grubb was hacked down as he advanced forward, and Gosling’s free kick curled narrowly wide.
Melksham did rally after the half hour and were creating chances. Vaugn Covil forced a good save from Ben John before the returning Kyle Tooze sent successive efforts wide. Farm had the final chance of the half and it was a presentable one. Evander Grubb slipped in by Bryant and his low effort trickled inches wide.Lee Lashenko’s half-time team talk certainly had the desired effect. A mere few minutes after the break and the lead was doubled. Brilliant work from Jayden Neilson saw him get to the byline and his low cross was put into his own net by Melksham captain Parsons.
Kyle Tooze was determined to make his mark against his former club and almost set about getting the hosts back in the game on the hour. A slaloming run saw him evade a few challenges and his pass looked to had set a simple chance for Covil, the winger with one to forget as he found the backrow of the car park.
The back four for Farm were defending superbly as Melksham earned a spell of pressure after the hour, Kyle Ford headed two dangerous crosses away in quick succession before captain Aron Robbins turned away a really dangerous low cross at the near post.
Dean Stamp had been seldom seen since his dual contract move in the Autumn but was thrown on for Farm as the minutes ticked by. His first touch was almost decisive too as Gosling’s trickery got him down the flank before the low cross found the big striker, who’s effort was blocked. Stamp though would not be denied. The striker had an unbelievably proliflic first spell with the club a few years ago and rolled back the years with 5 minutes left.
Gosling found Bament outside and his low cross fell to Stamp, the striker took a touch and looked the calmest man in the stadium as he rolled home for 3-0.
Incredibly, Farm and their substitute weren’t done there. Another clever ball forward saw Stamp spin behind and shake off his man before his superb finish nestled in the near post for 4-0. The gloss added to a truly fantastic performance.
STAR MAN, Mike Bryant