Resilient Manor Farm produced another compelling performance away from home, scoring two goals in the last ten minutes to secure a fine comeback win that cements a deserved second place in the table.
Winchester City started the day in fourth position but it took this top-table clash a little while to get going as both teams – aware of the high stakes – looked to feel each other out in a somewhat cagey opening.
Proceedings warmed up when the first real chance of the game fell to Lloyd Mills with the Farm centre-half turning in tight space in the box to thrash a snatched shot into the side netting.
For the hosts Oli Bailey at centre-forward looked particularly lively and Josh Harfield saw a flicked header cleared from danger at the far post. Ryan Price in the City goal did well to smother a ball from an onrushing Ben Bament as Farm began to grow in confidence. Dean Stamp soon put Bament into space through the inside left channel and the Farm front-man bore down on Price again but this time scraped his shot agonisingly wide of the far post.
Bament was left frustrated for a third time when he failed to find a sufficient enough touch to beat Price from a good Jack Durrant cross in the 24th minute and moments later a snap volley by Winchester’s Simba Miambo was hit into the ground before bouncing wastefully wide.
Manor Farm were playing the better, settled football but the hosts continued to fashion opportunities with a more direct style of play. Winchester full-back Dan Williamson wasted the best of them just before the half-hour mark when he blasted high and wide after a good opening down the right.
Lloyd Mills and Steve Kingdon at the central heart of Manor Farm’s defence continued to marshal Oli Bailey’s tricky play and the diminutive but dangerous striker was forced further deeper and wider to pick up the advancing play. It was from halfway on the right flank that Bailey finally found some joy with the final attack of the half when he skipped clear of his marker and drove forward only to under-hit a cross which Pat Cox could not connect with.
The second half began with Manor Farm still looking the most composed team but the hosts still creating plenty of chances on the break. Bailey’s cross from the right was quickly smothered by Farm keeper Ashley Clarke and Dan Williamson forged dangerously down the right.
Manor Farm’s midfield pairing of Iain Harvey and Jack Durrant had taken good control of the game by now, absorbing what Winchester had to throw at them in front of a solid back four. For all that it was the home side that took the lead on 54 minutes when Oli Bailey pounced on a rare mistake and was able to turn away from Steve Kingdon before coolly finishing across Clarke.
Rob Carr flashed a header wide on 63 minutes and with 74 on the clock it was Bailey again who looked poised to make the score 2-0 before Ashley Clarke pulled off the game-changing moment, sliding bravely to the strikers feet to save one-handed and deny the Winchester striker.
Durrant, Harvey and substitute Kye Holly, along with full backs Aron Robbins and Jamie Turner drove Winchester deeper and deeper into their own half now and the Winchester rearguard began to creak.
Farm got their merited equaliser with eight minutes left to play when Dean Stamp got his rewards for a fine afternoon’s work when he muscled onto a ball on the edge of the six yard box and smacked a left foot shot past Pryce. In a thrilling finale Farm forced another corner which fell invitingly to Kingdon who took a good crack at it but the ball deflected off a Winchester shin and went in off Aron Robbins who was on hand two yards out to win the game and send the visiting fans delirious.
A good match with a strong finish and another great Manor Farm performance on the road. They’ll be looking to repeat that league form when they take on Cinderford Town in front of their own fans, at The Creek next Saturday.
|14th October 2017||15:00 PM||Southern League West||2017/18|
|The Denplan City Ground|
|Nuns Walk, Winchester SO23, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|Bristol Manor Farm||0||2||2|