Monday, 1 May 2017

29/04/2017 Review: Bristol Manor Farm vs Sherborne Town

Bristol Manor Farm 5-0 Sherborne Town (Toolstation Western Premier League)
The Creek

It's that time again- a weekend in Bristol with the mythical creature who goes by the name of Partizan Bristle, or Tom to any regular being. Following last year's ventures to The Lawns, West Clewes and Norton Lane on a Western League extravaganza in May 2016, I was back for another triple-threat and it all kicked-off with the Western Premier League Champions, Bristol Manor Farm.

Farmy Army!
As a resident of Shirehampton for the time being Tom is only a stone throw away from The Creek, so it is hardly surprising that he has adopted BMF as his second team and he regularly has a mooch down Portway when his beloved Rovers are not in action at my venue for tomorrow- the Memorial Stadium. With the club's Facebook page advertising a "Football Fun Day" in anticipation of the trophy being lifted by Lee Lashenko and his side this afternoon, we got a walk on nice and early so that I could see what the fuss was all about at the home of the champions. On route to the ground we dropped in at the very basic facility that is Shirehampton FC's Penpole Lane, one that I am yet to visit for a game.

In the meantime, here I am at The Creek
Today's clash would be as simple as they come for the Farm, as they would look to turn on the style in a top vs bottom match against Sherborne Town. Before the game I made my usual pre-match prediction- Tom went for 4-0 to the champs and I went for 6-0, which was actually the scoreline that Manor Farm won their away fixture at Sherborne by. Having won their past seven league matches, the champs sat on 99 points before the start of the match and I don't think anybody was betting against them getting into treble-figures. Manor Farm had already rustled up an 8-0 win in the league, against Longwell Green Sports, and they knocked Devizes Town out of a local cup by a scoreline of 10-0 alongside another FA Vase run this season, making it one of the greatest for the Bristol side. As the sides warmed-up on the pitch, we tucked into the clubhouse's frosty beers amongst many Farm fans who had arrived early to watch the Old Firm derby. We were only interested in proper football though, and as kick-off loomed over us we joined the 400 or so punters inside the ground ready for the match. The fans today included club legend Tony, dressed in a centurion outfit, as well as a group of Dutch Manor Farm supporters and even Jack- a Rovers fan and pal of Tom's who I met at Vale Park in February.

Tony getting some pre-match patrolling in- standard
The ground itself was basic, but cosy, and with a good filling of people today at The Creek I felt like I was well-in with the locals- despite wearing my Mickleover Sports scarf! Surely enough the game kicked-off as we took our stance at the back of the small stand ready to see some goals and hopefully a top showing from the Farmy Army. The opening 15 minutes or so were entertaining enough, but there wasn't too much goalmouth action as Sherborne stood stubbornly in front of Farm's talisman Dean Stamp and denied him an early sniff. At the other end Sherborne were relying on the odd break from their midfield and with just a lone striker to aim for, who had the look of a young Danny De Vito, it never seemed too likely that the Dorset side would test Ash Clark between the Farm sticks. As expected, the opener came and despite Sherborne's keeper replicating David Seaman's famous claw save, on 21 minutes it would be Troy Simpson who started the Farmy party with a good right-footed finish. BMF 1-0 Sherborne. From this point on, Farm's dominance was apparent and amazingly half-time almost managed to arrive with no further goals. With 40 minutes on the clock, I popped off to the loo and just as I reemerged I just about saw the second goal. Jack Durrant had apparently taken a penalty just seconds before I appeared, and after it was well saved I saw Ben Bament hit home the second of the day. BMF 2-0 Sherborne.

Half time, 2-0
With a promise of a "penalty shoot-out" as a part of the Fun Day today, I was starting to get excited at the prospect of joining in and taking a shot at The Creek's goal. My dreams were soon crushed though as we watched a group of kids walk on to the pitch with a plastic goal which clearly meant that I wouldn't need to change into my football boots on this occasion. Instead, we headed into the clubhouse for another beer and a glance at the half-time scores in the Football League. The atmosphere at the ground was a happy one and I decided to buy a scarf to mark what was undoubtedly a memorable occasion.

I also discovered the real reason that Tom likes it here so much
The players came back out for the second-half and we were soon celebrating another goal for the hosts. With an hour gone, Aron Robbins got on the end of a good cross and his header sealed the three points for Manor Farm. BMF 3-0 Sherborne. Ten minutes later the goal of the game came and it was a sub who got in on the action this time. Jake Cox, formally of Yate Town, found himself in position from 25-yards and he decided to have a pop- his strike from range flew into the goal and you could see how chuffed he was to have added to the goals. A top strike, indeed. BMF 4-0 Sherborne.
And they weren't done yet
Manor Farm's second-half dominance was too much for Town to handle and almost instantly after conceding the fourth, the impressive Cox almost added another long-range goal just a minute later. This time his shot was saved by Sherborne's keeper and his parry was followed up well by Troy Simpson, who doubled his tally for the day and sparked a second round of Tom and Jack belting out the theme tune to The Simpson's for all at The Creek to "enjoy". BMF 5-0 Sherborne. It is safe to say that the low-humour commentary from the lads I was in attendance with today had added to the day. Jack summed up the game for Sherborne's lone-striker by stating that he was "resigned to De Feato", which had us howling for a wee while. At this point, we had definitely had a beer or two.

Joking aside, the game and the season was coming to an end and despite making a bold effort to add more goals, Manor Farm would have to satisfy for a very comfortable and well deserved 5-0 triumph in-front of a bumper crowd of appreciative fans. The whistle soon blew to end the match and we headed over to see the trophy presentation. Having been lucky enough to see more than one trophy lifting ceremony this season already, in the form of Dundalk's Irish Premier League win, Catholic United's victory in Thurrock and even Burton's pre-season lift of the Bass Charity Vase, I was glad to add the Western League Premier trophy to my collection and this joy was solidified when I actually had a chance to nip on to the pitch and hold it for myself.

We hung around a while longer to partake in some chatter with the club's fans and players, and after receiving the highly-coveted honour of having a beer with Tony it was time to depart. I supped up my pint and finished watching Bristol City's shock win at Brighton, before stumbling back to Shirehampton. Day one of my three day stint in Bristol had been a huge success and I can honestly say that The Creek had provided an awesome day out. Despite not seeing the much anticipated greatness of Dean Stamp, who Tom had assured me would be smashing goals in all over the shop, I had at least got to witness a great team display from a very homely club that are surely going to give next season's Southern League something to think about. Cheers lads- all the best for next season! FARMY ARMY!!!

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