Bristol Manor Farm cruised into the semi-finals of the Gloucestershire Senior Cup on an extraordinary night at The Creek, where on a still, moonless night a heavy mist and fog rolled in off the nearby River Avon, threatening to force an abandonment of the game on several occasions.
However difficult the conditions were for spectators and a beleagured matchday announcer alike (!), the players clearly had fewer problems with visibility out there on the pitch itself and a Manor Farm side replete with changes put in a strong team performance to match their 6-0 league victory over the same opponents earlier in the season
With Jordan Metters rested to the bench, Jamie Turner was given the captain’s armband and the young central defender fulfilled the role with distinction. Jay Adams, having made an appearance as a late substitute in the surprise defeat at Mangotsfield United last Saturday, made his full Manor Farm debut here tonight and was only narrowly pipped to the man-of-the-match bubbly by Lloyd Mills – outstanding in a change of role at the base of the Manor Farm midfield.
Farm opened the scoring just before the quarter hour mark when good team work down the right flank was rewarded by Troy Simpson thundering home at the near post.
Two minutes later defender John Lock, making a rare enough start for the home side (and who had predicted he would score on the night) saw his goal celebrations curtailed when his close range effort was ruled out for offside.
Bishops Cleeve made a good break down the left on 21 minutes but as danger threatened the move was brilliantly broken up by Stuart Tovey who had another excellent game for the Farm at right back.
Troy Simpson volleyed in after 23 minutes but once again the Farm player had the goal chalked off for offside and the score remained 1-0.
Ten minutes before the break Dean Stamp finally got the second Farm goal that their pressure and approach play deserved when he turned sharply in the box to thrash the ball home with his left foot.
Ten minutes after the break the home side extended their lead when the impressive Adams held off a strong challenge on the edge of the box before turning away from his marker and drilling a low cross into the centre which Simpson gratefully thumped home for 3-0.
Lloyd Mills then broke into the box and hit a strong shot that looked goal-bound before somehow being deflected behind for a corner.
It was very difficult to see from our vantage point but Bishops Cleeve pulled a goal back at the far end of the pitch on 74 minutes when we were reliably informed that a penalty had been awarded and duly converted by Joe Bates for 3-1. It was a strange and eerie sensation only confirmed when the players re-emerged from the dense fog, trotting back for the restart.
Two minutes later Manor Farm were clearly visible when they re-established a three goal lead from a free kick on the right. Jordan Metters, on for the injured Matty Groves (groin) floated a free kick into the box which fell kindly for the talismanic Lock, who made good on his pre-match promise this time – joyously slotting home from five yards out to receive the biggest cheer of the night from a sparse yet thoroughly entertained crowd. 4-1.
There was more misery to come for the visitors when on 81 minutes Dean Stamp, who worked tirelessly all night, made an excellent bustling run down the left flank before turning in a peach of a cross that Ben Bament, arriving on cue, slammed high into the roof of the net for 5-1.
Stamp put the cherry on the cake when a clever run saw him waltz past the visitors back four into acres of space with the ball at his feet. The striker slowed down as the keeper came out to meet him before picking his spot and sending a low drive home into the corner for 6-1 and his 20th goal of the season.
STAR MAN (Lloyd Mills, Bristol Manor Farm)
|10th January 2018||19:45 PM||GFA Cup||2017/18|
|96 Portway, Bristol BS9 2HS, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|Bristol Manor Farm||2||4||6|