Weston Super Mare 1 Bristol Manor Farm 1 *(*WSM won 3-1 on penalties)

Ahead of our big FA Cup game against Wealdstone on Saturday, Manor Farm put in a good, spirited team performance at a blustery Weston Super Mare on Tuesday night – holding our Southern Premier League neighbours to 1-1 over 90 minutes before crashing out of the League Cup in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.

Fielding three changes from last Saturday’s starting eleven that smashed seven goals past Moneyfields in the FA Trophy, Farm made a bright, positive start to the game, getting our tackles in early and playing on the front foot.

A long range effort by Weston’s Jarrad Welsh failed to trouble Ben John in the 12th minute and Jay Malshanskyj’s curling effort looped safely into the Farm keepers hands a minute later. John saved well in the 26th minute, diving low to keep out an on the turn effort by former Farm striker Owen Howe.

Farm forced a succession of corners at the other end and from the third of them Josh Nelmes met Ashley Kington’s centre with a firm volley to put the Portwaymen 1-0 up.

Welsh was lively for the Seagulls – forcing an excellent block by John before drilling a firm strike just wide of the post shortly after. John then saved bravely at Howe’s feet as the hosts pressed for an equaliser.

Five minutes before the break Weston drew level when a deep in-swinging corner from the right by the exciting 17-year old winger Ryan Jones sailed on the wind to the back post where Kington appeared to have headed the ball off the line. The Referee’s Assistant flagged otherwise to confirm that the ball had in fact crossed the line and to be fair there was very little protest by the Farm players.

Jordan Metters replaced Jamie Bird and Lloyd Mills came on for Iain Harvey as Farm looked to stem the tide of increasing Weston pressure early in the second half.

A good run and shot by Malshanskyj in the 68th minute was well-saved by John diving low to smother. Joe Tumelty turned and shot straight at Luke Purnell in the Weston goal a minute later with Farm’s first direct effort of the half.

Skipper Steve Kingdon produced a fine block at the near post to deny Howe a goal against his former team-mates and Seagull’s substitute Jack Mawford hit a sharp drive just high and wide with just under a quarter of an hour to play.

With ten minutes left Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist shot only just wide with a rasping effort from 30 yards and Aron Robbins kept Farm in the game in the 85th minute, clearing the ball after John saved well from a wicked deflection with danger arriving at the back post. Robbins was once again on hand to scoop a dangerous ball behind for a corner with two minutes left of normal time.

With virtually the last kick of the game deep into injury time Weston full back Connor Davies volleyed a ball into the ground that flew across the six-yard but failed to find a finishing touch.

Farm were first up in the shoot-out but both Jay Adams and Ashley Kington, who clipped the ball off the bar, failed to find the net whilst Owen Howe was lucky with Weston’s first effort which John got down well to get a strong hand to but couldn’t quite keep out and Jones sent John the wrong way to put Weston 2 up. Leigh-Gilchrist gave Farm hope at 2-1 but Welsh slammed home for 3-1 before Mason Winter’s fourth Farm effort again slammed against the bar to render the remaining kicks irrelevant.

The players were warmly applauded from the pitch by the travelling Farmy Army – out in good numbers again in a crowd of 168 – and the players applauded back – all of us together as one with a bigger prize on our minds.

STAR MAN (Ben John, Bristol Manor Farm) 

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