Bristol Manor Farm recorded their first victory of the season on Tuesday evening when they defeated Wimborne Town 3-2 to progress in the FA Trophy, writes William Ledbury.
Six matches into the 2022/23 season and Manor Farm have been left to ponder missed chances and points dropped in a tough start to the league campaign. Despite notable absentees, the aforementioned hasn’t anything to do with a lack of effort from any of the players but certain moments have left Farm without a win to their name. Following Saturday’s postponement due to Her Majesty The Queen’s passing, Farm quickly had to turn their attention to a long trip south to Wimborne – desperate to channel the spirit of Badgers Hill which saw them reach the division Play-Off Final last season. Everyone at The Creek knows there’s a spirit there – they just needed a stage to show what they’re capable of. New Cuthbury awaited the Portwaymen, with a chance to progress in the Isuzu FA Trophy…
Understandably, Farm were without several key players and only named three substitutes on the bench on Tuesday evening. Kye Simpson made his first start of the season, with captain Jake Gosling partnering Mike Bryant in the centre and young Harry Lucas moving into the back four.
Keeping his place in the heart of defence Josh Ford came very close to opening the evening’s scoreline. After a good strike from Simpson, the ball went behind for a corner – to which Gosling whipped with ferocity and Ford rose highest, only to see his effort sail narrowly over the Magpies crossbar.
Conditions were certainly playing a part in the cup fixture with consistent rainfall hitting the impressive turf that Wimborne could boast. On 18 minutes, Jayden Nielsen slipped behind the home defence with the goal at his mercy – but a slippery surface meant that his kick was skewed and the ball went behind for a goal kick.
Simpson eager to impress on his first start this season too came close to scoring when he struck wide. Enjoying a different position in a Farm shirt, captain Gosling made a fantastic through pass to Simpson who beat past his man but unfortunately couldn’t beat the target.
At the other end of the pitch, Bryant had but no choice but to commit a ‘professional foul’ as Wimborne broke at breakneck speed on Ben John’s goal. Bryant was given a yellow card, but in reality, the evening’s scoreline could have been very different hadn’t Bryant committed the foul.
Farm’s confidence grew as the half progressed and their chances came ever closer to ending up in the back of the Magpies’ net. A melee of chances fell at the Farmers’ feet, and Simpson lashed a wicked strike low and hard off the base of the near post.
Right on the verge of the half-time whistle, credit must be given to Farm’s determination and credit to the referee of the evening for allowing play to continue when Evander Grubb opened the scoring. Lucas’ first-time pass to the feet of Gosling saw the midfielder skip past his man with ease, but was dangerously clattered to the floor by a frustrated Wimborne midfielder. Instead of halting play, Bryant was allowed to keep the move alive and his defence-splitting pass found Grubb who took a neat touch before slotting past Parker-Trott to make it 1-0 Farm
As we’ve seen before this season, Farm’s one-goal cushion was quickly squashed when two goals were scored inside five minutes to turn the match.
A long-range strike from Ben Satterly drew the Magpies level, before another moment of class shown from the hosts when Jack Hoey rounded John and calmly slotted the ball into the empty net.
With his side trailing, Manager Lee Lashenko decided to roll the dice and introduce George Fowler to the evening’s action.
On Farm’s right side, Marcus Day’s trickery continued to test Wimborne’s defence, with the Magpies hacking the ball behind for a corner. Gosling’s corner ended up at the feet of Simpson, but to Farm’s bemusement, the referee gave a goal kick despite Parker-Trott getting a hand to the strike.
Since Fowler entered the fray his energy revitalised Manor Farm’s engine room. Following some neat passes in the midfield, Day fed the ball to Simpson who found Grubb to score Manor Farm’s second goal of the night. The young attacker took a touch before unleashing a deadly trike into the top right corner.
A touch of good fortune and determination proved the difference at New Cuthbury as Day’s opportunist strike ensured that Manor Farm would be the side of progressing in the competition. Day intercepted Parker-Trott’s careless throw before bursting into the area and smashing a shot into the net.
Wimborne would throw everything at the Manor Farm defence, but despite their best efforts – the story was already written. Farm winless in their opening six matches showed a steely desire to get their season up and running and deservedly progress to the next round.
(STAR MAN – Harry Lucas)