Winchester City 3 Bristol Manor Farm 2
Winchester returned to winning ways with a 3-2 win against Bristol Manor Farm. In their last four games they had achieved a great win against AFC Totton, but had lost three encounters
games by the odd goal despite having enough of the encounter game to have got something from it and been eliminated from both the F A Cup and the F A Trophy in the process. However on a positive note the victory against Bristol Manor Farm moved them up to third in the table and they attracted a crowd of 176 which is a good figure for a midweek game to wsittness it.
Bristol Manor Farm who are in mid-table also went into this match having suffered recent disappointment and were eliminated from both the F A Cup and F A Trophy in a four day period.
Having reached the 3rd qualifying round of the F A Cup for the third successive season they were eliminated on penalty kicks and on Saturday they lost in the F A Trophy to Willand Rovers who in Monday's draw were the lucky team to be given a bye to the next round.
With Danny King returning from suspension and Dan Bradshaw returning from injury Winchester
were able to make two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with Dan Williamson and Ollie Griggs dropping to the bench. Josh McCormick reverted to right back, while Kieran Douglas injured in the warm-up on Saturday and Simba Mlambo injured in the under 23 match on Thursday were still out, while goalkeeper Charlie Philpott was coming back from Loughborough on the day of the match and the uncertainty regarding his time of arrival meant he was not in the squad for this encounter.
The match was played at a fast and furious pace, but Winchester took the lead in the second minute when Ollie Balmer who appeared to be given a more forward role than usual broke clear and slotted home. However at the other end Ryan Pryce made an excellent save to deny Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist and the follow up was well blocked. Max Smith came close to increasing Winchester's lead when he shot narrowly wide, but soon afterwards he went off injured and was replaced by Ollie Griggs.
Eleven minutes from half time the visitors drew level when a penalty was awarded for a push. Many people regarded it as a soft penalty, but Bristol Manor Farm captain Jay Adams takes a good penalty to level the scores.
The first half saw both teams get in crucial blocks to keep the opposition out, but it was all square at the interval.. Rob Flooks did though have a header cleared off the line.
In the second half Pryce made a good save to deny Dan Spencer which proved crucial as almost immediately Winchester broke away and the moved that followed resulted in Josh McCormick scoring the all important second goal.
Rob Carr had a shot saved by Luc Rees in the visitors goal, but 11 minutes after going behind Bristol Manor Farm were level when Dan Spencer followed up after Sam Boulton's initial shot was saved. Having come from behind to achieve three of their four victories in previous encounters with Winchester you wondered then whether another of their comebacks was on its' wsy..
Marcus Day shot just wide for the visitors, but with 13 minutes to go Balmer again broke clear and slotted home.
Winchester bought on Graeme Purdy and Joe Hayward in the game's second period, and this time they were able to retain the lead and win three valuable points in a keenly contested game.