Sholing 2 Bristol Manor Farm 1

Sholing 2 Bristol Manor Farm 1
Amid something of an injury crisis, Bristol Manor Farm’s route to a Wembley
final was stalled for the second time in four days – crashing out of the FA
Trophy on a sodden Saturday in Southampton following their midweek defeat
in an FA Cup replay at Wealdstone.
With six regulars side-lined Lee Lashenko’s heavily-adjusted side
understandably took a long while to settle in this game as Sholing dominated a
first half in which Farm goalkeeper Ben John – outstanding once again – was
tested throughout. Farm had to defend stoutly in slippery conditions, rarely
troubling John’s opposite number.
Just past the half-hour mark defender Josh Nelmes had the crossbar to thank for
denying the home side a lead with a spectacular volleyed back-heel that flew off
his boot as he competed bravely to stop a goal-bound shot.
Minutes later Farm did concede when a mis-placed pass allowed a cross from
the left to find Sholing debutant Stuart Green who had time and space in the box
to pick his spot and easily slot home.
Ashley Kington responded with a good shot from the right on a rare Farm foray
but The Portwaymen’s first-half misery was compounded when influential
midfielder Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist had to limp off in pain a minute before the
break.
It was actually Leigh-Gilchrist’s replacement – Youth team graduate Troy
Waters – who provided a much-needed spark for the Farm in an altogether
different second half.
Led by dogged, battling performances in midfield, Manor Farm finally got on
the front foot early in the half and gained parity in the 53 rd minute when Jordan
Metters curled a delicious trademark free-kick beyond Ryan Gosney’s reach and
into the top corner.
Ten minutes later however there was still some defending to do with Mason
Winter having to clear from under his own crossbar as the Farm fans held their
collective breath.
Back up the other end, a great move involving Metters and Lloyd Mills – whose
own overall example and influence grew distinctly through the game – set up a
header for Jamie Adams that was just tipped wide by Gosney. Adams then tried
a clever chip in the 69 th minute which Gosney again got a late, saving hand to.

For all of Farm’s big second-half effort it was Sholing’s most influential player
Green who bagged a personal brace with 15 minutes left to play to earn his side
victory. Following a missed clearance Green was on hand in the box again to
shoot – the ball took a wicked deflection off John’s knee as he dived to smother,
sending it looping high into the net.
With five minutes left Ashley Kington cut inside from the left before unleashing
a fine effort that Gosney got a fingertip to, onto the crossbar, to deny the visitors
an equaliser.
With the 90 minutes almost up, Waters – who had made several inroads past
defenders since his introduction – got a shot off that Gosney gathered easily. In
time-added on John kept the Farm alive with a great save from close range and
with the final chance of the game Waters did well again to beat his marker but
his shot flew over the bar.
The Farmy Army warmly applauded the team’s second-half efforts at the end of
a challenging week. Farm will work hard to put out their strongest team
possible for the long midweek trip to Bideford on Tuesday night – seeking to lift
themselves up the table with multiple league games in hand now that cup
football is over for the season. For the second season running the club has made
its own cup history – but now it’s back to regular business. Saturday’s second-
half performance shows there is good quality in the depth of Lashenko’s squad,
tested at present though it is.
STAR MAN (Lloyd Mills, Bristol Manor Farm)