Melksham Town 0 Bristol Manor Farm 0
A solid defensive display helped Bristol Manor Farm maintain their unbeaten
run since returning to league action in mid-October, securing a third clean sheet
in four for their efforts at a rain-swept infiLED Stadium on Saturday.
The swirling wind and rain made for difficult conditions but having said that,
there was still plenty of good football on display throughout the game. Manor
Farm created the greater number of openings than Melksham but couldn’t
supply the finishing touch to an otherwise generally confident performance.
Farm started brightly – with both full-backs Tyler Ashmead and Mason Winter
probing beyond the back four down either flank twice in the opening fifteen
minutes, both hitting deep crosses that begged to be attacked from midfield.
A flowing Farm move out of defence was ended when Winter was brought
down after turning inside off another good run down the left but the resultant
free-kick – in a good position – alas came to nothing.
In the 18 th minute another great flowing move with Jordan Metters at it’s heart
led to a Joe Tumelty shot that went away for a corner. Farm Skipper Steve
Kingdon at the back post headed back across into the danger area where a poke
forward from Lloyd Mills was finally scrambled away off the line by the
With just over a half-hour played a great flick and run by Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist
brought a low, diving save from Jamie Bartlett in the Melksham goal who
finally turned the ball behind for a corner after Leigh-Gilchrist followed up a
blocked effort with a firm drive to the keeper’s left.
A minute later Melksham won a free-kick in a dangerous spot 22 yards out but
after careful placement by goalkeeper Ben John the Manor Farm wall did its job
to a ‘T’.
Melksham had the ball in the net ten minutes before the break but the goal was
ruled out for a tight-looking offside when Luke Ballinger crossed to the far post
for Jack Ball to head home from close range.
With the game goal-less at half-time a fresh rainstorm swept into the stadium
and ‘parked a meteorological bus’ so to speak – refusing to budge for the
remainder of the game, making for difficult, swirling conditions for both sides.
As passing and tackling became ever more precarious the half grew ever more
tetchy and stop/start with Melksham keen to break up Manor Farm’s rhythm in
any way they could.
Around the hour mark Joe McClennan, making his first start for the visitors
since being side-lined through injury in mid-September, won a loose ball on the
left to curl a 20-yard effort that Bartlett safely gathered and at the other end
Kingdon was grateful to see his timely interception slice away high for a corner.
A long-range Ballinger shot failed to trouble Ben John and the Farm keeper had
Kingdon to thank for two sure-footed blocks in front of him before Melksham’s
Taiwo Ojo came the closest to scoring all afternoon when he flashed a near-post
header inches wide with fifteen minutes left on the clock.
Three efforts in the final three minutes of regulation time – one for Melksham,
two for the Farm – could’ve settled the game either way. Firstly, Jake Ball
flashed an effort across the visitor’s box that failed to find a touch, then
following a characteristically flowing move Metters combined well going into
the box before arcing a sweet shot just high of the Melksham bar and Leigh-
Gilchrist, with the 90 minutes up, shot straight at Bartlett.
The point moved Manor Farm up to 8 th place in the table with an average two
games in hand on the teams currently above them – a notable ascension
considering the club were in bottom place (20 th ) as recently as mid-October.
Melksham remain 17 th . Next up for the Farm is a trip to fifth-placed Cinderford
Town this Saturday where Lee Lashenko’s men will look to avenge defeat there
last season and continue their remarkable climb up the table.
STAR MAN (Mason Winter, Bristol Manor Farm)