Seth Locke was the shootout hero on Saturday afternoon as Bristol Manor Farm progress in the FA Trophy on penalties, writes Jack Davies.
Farm have several good memories away to Thatcham in previous years and started the match brightly. Jayden Nielsen sent a snapshot just over inside the opening couple of minutes. The home side also created some chances in a frantic first 20 minutes. Harry Hoath drifted in from the flank, but could only send a shot narrowly over the bar. The Kingfishers would take the lead before the break thanks to a clinical counter. Neat football saw Jordan Alves collect a one two back and he coolly slotted past Locke. Thatcham then had their keeper to thank for taking the lead into half time. His first flying save from an Evander Grubb curler was only matched by his even more impressive fingertip save from Nielsen in first half injury time.
Farm were expected to come out strong but couldn’t have made a worst start to the second half. Ollie Woodhouse adjudged to have fouled Ceesay inside the area on 48 minutes and the referee pointed to the spot. Alves stepped up to double his tally and give his side a two goal lead. With a mountain to climb in extreme heat conditions, Farm had their Manager Lee Lashenko to thank for getting a foothold back in the game before the hour.He sent on young forward Bevan Cross and defender Mason Winter, and once the former had collected a pass inside from Nielsen, he squared a pass to the feet of Winter who drilled an effort low into the far corner. Whilst Farm kept pushing for an equaliser, gaps were left which Thatcham desperately tried to exploit. A counter led to Alves flashing an effort across and Hoath’s sliding finish was hacked off the line by Winter, with Alves then being denied by the base of the post. Farm made the most of their defensive heroics to equalise with 15 minutes left. A short corner was worked to Grubb, who then cut back to the ever-reliable Owen Brain to score. The striker calmly whipped the ball past a flurry of blue shirts into the far corner for his 9th goal of the season. Both teams threatened late winners as a real cup tie feel fell over the final minutes, but it would be penalties to decide a place in the next round.
Young Farm stopper Seth Locke would prove to be the hero, saving an incredible three penalties out of home side’s four to give Farm the win. Winter had missed the chance to capitalise on his normal time goal, but Aron Robbins, Jay Adams and Owen Brain all converted.