MATCH REPORT: Shepton Mallet AFC 3-1 Bristol Manor Farm

Bristol Manor Farm’s recent cutting edge was blunted this afternoon, following a 3-1 pre-season defeat at the hands of Western League opposition Shepton Mallet AFC. Matchday Reporter, Jack Davies, was on-hand to cover the action at The Playing Fields…

The match’s early tone was instantly set from the start; barely five minutes were played when a simple long ball from the keeper allowed Mallet striker Aaron Seviour through but his first-time effort was tame. The same trick was repeated again just minutes later. Another long ball caught Farm out, and former BMF striker Dawid Regula’s whipped cross found an unmarked Fillingham – but he somehow managed to sky his effort.

Farm’s first chance was of an acrobatic kind, good work from Tovey and debutant Luc Noble before Jamie Bird’s bicycle kick drifted wide.

It was easy to see where the hosts’ lead was going to come from. Another simple long ball found Fillingham and this time he made no mistake, slotting past the hapless Harry Thomas-Barker.

Farm, however, almost instantly drew level. Jamie Bird combined with Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist, but the latter’s low-driven strike was saved well.

Just as the Farm was looking the most likely to get the next goal, Shepton struck twice on the verge of half-time to all but virtually wrap up the afternoon’s action. Their second was almost as easy as the first. Hewlett stole the ball high up, and his pass split the Farm defence open – leaving Seymour with the simple task of finishing. The Mallet’s third epitomised Bristol Manor Farm’s apparent defensive issues. A calamity at the back led to Fillingham capitalising on a loose ball, adding his second of the match.

The Farm were much improved in the second half. Bird and Leigh-Gilchrist swapped places, and it was Bird who created the first chance of the second period; playing a nice one-two with Kyle Tooze, but the Welshman’s effort sailed over the bar.

Another superb diagonal pass from Tooze found Leigh-Gilchrist moments after, but the ball’s bounce was unkind – forcing the forward wide as the home keeper was left in no man’s land.

The Farm kept coming, and their best chance fell to Leigh-Gilchrist on the hour mark. Bament and Tooze combined well, and the latter’s low cross was just too heavy for Leigh-Gilchrist as he slid in at the back post. The resulting corner presented another chance for Farm with Tooze rising highest at the back post – but he could only head wide.

As the final minutes ticked on, youngster Charlie Tiley showed some dazzling footwork to create a chance for Bird and once his shot was blocked for a corner, Farm would have the chance to finally blot the score sheet. Aron Robbins’ goalbound effort struck a defender’s hand and Jamie Bird’s emphatic penalty game Farm the goal that the second-half improvement merited.

(STAR MAN, KAI STENNER)