Emirates FA Cup
First round qualifying
Bridgwater Town 1, Bristol Manor Farm 3

BRIDGWATER Town's FA Cup adventure came to an end on Saturday, as Bristol Manor Farm came away from Fairfax Park with a 3-1 win and headed back up the M5 with £4,500 in prize money.

Although the Robins were often on the back foot, it took a fluke cross-shot just after the break and a breakaway goal late on (with the home keeper at the wrong end) to seal the deal for the Southern League Division 1 side.

The higher tier visitors dominated the game, while the home side's lethal strike force of Steve Murray and Jack Taylor were feeding on scraps for large parts, and Bridgy struggled to handle the outstanding Leigh Mills and Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist.

Manor Farm created many more scoring chances and dominated midfield in particular, with Joe McClennan causing the hosts no end of problems.

The Robins briefly gave themselves a chance with a stunning dipper from distance from Harry Horton with three minutes left, but it was snuffed out almost immediately when from a long Tom Ellis throw and keeper Jake Viney up in attack, the ball was cleared and substitute Lewis Bamforth hooked it home from out on the left to settle the game.

Both teams had gone on the attack from the start, with Ellis’ throw creating a chance for Taylor, whose header brought a smart save out of Ben John, but home efforts were rare, with Taylor’s strike partner Murray often isolated.

Leigh-Gilchrist had a shot blocked on 20 minutes, then he set up Joe Tumelty who skied one into the car park from 12 yards with only Viney to beat, before hitting the bar himself around the half-hour mark as his side looked to turn their dominance into goals.

At the other end Murray’s snapshot was held by John, but the hosts were missing the presence of Dave O’Hare, who was forced to start on the bench due to work commitments, and the Robins were pleased to hit the dressing rooms all square after being under the cosh.

The parity only lasted six more minutes, however, as Mason Winter’s cross-shot from way out sailed over Viney for the opening goal.

The Robins battled hard in front of a healthy crowd of 291, and when O’Hare was introduced on the hour he did his best to get some momentum going.

At the other end Leigh-Gilchrist brought a superb flying save out of Viney, but he would not be denied for much longer, after a mix-up between Jamie Laird and Horton presented Manor Farm with possession.

A three-man attack sliced through the middle and Leigh-Gilchrist's side-footed shot from 18 yards doubled the advantage with 17 minutes to go.

Murray had a lob land on the roof of the net soon after and hard-working Jake Llewellyn saw a snap-shot hacked off the line, and after Laird had gone close twice in a minute Horton’s 25-yard thunderbolt gave brief hope.

Sadly for the home side it was not enough, as Bamford clinched it with the defence up the other end, to take his side into the second round qualifying draw.

Bridgwater Town: Jake Viney, Dave Thorne, Jake Llewellyn, Jake Horsey, Jamie Laird, Tom Ellis, Harry Horton, Mark Armstrong (Dave O’Hare 61), Steve Murray, Jack Taylor (Patrick O’Halloran 68), Sam Towler (Ross McErlain 82). Subs not used: Fin Wilkinson, Dave Pearse.

Next up for Bridgwater is an away trip to Hallen on Saturday, September 14 (ko 3pm).