Bristol Manor Farm AFC let their football do the talking as a superb second-half performance secured the all important three points in the final game of the Paulton trilogy, writes Matchday Reporter Jack Davies.
The Portwayment had been dumped out of two cup competitions by their hosts in the last couple of weeks and started brightly in their hunt for revenge. Stuart Tovey’s whipped cross was hacked at by defender Dan Dempsey, before the ball fell kindly to Owen Howe who volleyed just over.
Just moments later Howe had the next chance, lashing a driven free-kick high and wide.
Despite the confident start, Paulton would sting on the break. Ed Butcher led a counter before his pass found Leighton Thomas and the striker finished smartly.
Farm escaped a second blow a few minutes later. Tovey cleared superbly off the line after a Thomas header had beaten Ben John.
It would take a penalty for Farm to get a much deserved equaliser. Kyle Tooze made a nuisance of himself, dealing with a difficult bouncing ball far better than his counterpart Leighton Tuodolo, as the defender clumsily hauled Tooze down just inside the box. Howe collected the ball and emphatically buried his 12th league goal of the season.
Paulton had two chances just before the break to reestablish the lead. Butcher crossed for Thomas who headed over from point blank range before Butcher again crossed for Will Harvey but he could only find the side netting.
Farm started an incredibly impressive second-half on the front foot. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist spinning left and right before his cute chip was just too heavy for Howe at the back post.
The hosts’ first chance of the second-half was an extremely presentable one. Liban Ibrahim got in down the left but Thomas could only hammer over from the penalty spot.
Tooze was once again causing problems for Farm down their right. Skipping inside and out before his superb cross left keeper Aaron Sainsbury in no man’s land, but there were no takers at a vacant back post.
Paulton looked certainties to take the lead as Butcher escaped Tovey on the break, but Theo Llewelyn came from nowhere to make a superb recovery tackle.
On the hour, a managerial masterstroke by Lee Lashenko turned the balance in Manor Farm’s favour. Within 60 seconds of coming on, substitute Lloyd Mills’ first touch was a peach of a pass to Howe which led to a Farm corner; The resulting corner was well worked, and Tooze fired a cross to Mills who swept home to give the Portwaymen the lead.
The game was effectively over as a contest just a few minutes later. Tooze again drove Farm forward and once Leigh-Gilchrist got a toe to a loose ball first, Tuodolo swiped wildly at the forward leading to a second penalty and a second yellow for the defender.
Howe smashed home again and led the team to the beaming Lashenko for wild celebrations and three big points secured.
Manor Farm were denied a touch more gloss late on. Leigh-Gilchrist’s perfect corner found Josh Ford, who had defended outstandingly throughout, but his downward header was brilliantly tipped wide by Sainsbury.
Saturday’s result made certain that Bristol Manor Farm remained in third place after 11 matches, four points off league leaders AFC Totton who have played a match less. You can watch Manager Lashenko’s post-match interview on Official BMF TV HERE. Up next, the Portwaymen host Bideford AFC at The Creek on Saturday 23rd October – Match preview and information will be posted across our website and social media channels in the coming days.