MATCH REPORT: Merthyr Town 4-0 Bristol Manor Farm

A clinical Merthyr Town ensured Farm started pre-season with defeat in Wales, writes Jack Davies.

Manor Farm travelled to Merthyr knowing it would be their toughest friendly first. The Martyrs were relegated initially at the end of last season but a few reshuffles ensured their place one league above was maintained.

The Farm started brightly enough, Ben Bament charged home keeper Will Fuller’s clearance and was unlucky to see the ball cannon off the crossbar.

The host’s first chance was after some classic route one. A flick-on by Gethyn Hill dropped for Curtis Hudson who skipped inside and dragged a shot just wide.

The early sparring continued as Farm had the next try. Jayden Neilsen brought himself a yard on the Farm left before his cross was just too long for Kye Simpson who hit the side netting from a tight angle.

Hudson was by far Merthyr’s brightest spark in the opening exchanges. The winger drove inside after 15 minutes but his effort from just inside the box ballooned over.

His next effort was far more decisive, however. Adam Davies stole possession before finding Hudson, who unleashed an effort from range that found the bottom corner.

His frantic ten minutes continued minutes after. This time flicking a dangerous Frazer Thomas free-kick narrowly wide.

Farm weathered the post-goal storm and grew back into the half. Kye Simpson’s persistence stole him the ball high but he could only drag wide.

Farm’s next chance came from some quick thinking by Ben Bament. The striker took a quick free-kick as he spread a diagonal to Evander Grubb and the teenager left two men for dead before clipping the outside of the near post with his dinked effort.

As the half-time whistle approached Farm produced the move of the match so far. Bament again with a gorgeous ball to Grubb who this time snuck inside and unleashed an effort that forced a smart save. From the resulting corner, Marcus Day played a clever one-two with Neilsen whose own effort was tipped just wide.

Merthyr effectively ended the contest in three early second-half minutes. A succession of crosses eventually saw the ball drop to Tom Handley who delivered for the unmarked Lewis Powell to head home from six yards.

Powell had two in as many minutes shortly after that restart. This time he collected well under pressure before spinning and driving his shot past Ben John.

The Portwaymen stayed resilient and were creating chances. Neilsen somehow retained the ball after evading several challenges before Aron Robbins forced a smart save from substitute keeper Jamie Cogman.

Young Farm substitute Harry Lucas looked lively after coming on. He combined well with Neilsen who got another effort away under pressure that was well saved.

Lucas then came inches from giving Farm something to celebrate late on. He made himself half a yard and let fly from 30 yards, watching his curling effort drop just wide with Cogman scrambling.

The Martyrs would add some gloss late in superb fashion. Matthew Harris caught Farm cold with an audacious quick free-kick from just inside the attacking half which dropped in for a flattering fourth.