Sholing 2-1 Bristol Manor Farm

Scorers :  Sami Makhloufi 32, Conor Whiteley 59  /  Aron Robbins 64

Date: Saturday 11th December 2021, 3pm – Southern League South Division 1

Venue:  Mackoy Stadium

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Ryan Cluett, Marv McLean, Owen Roundell, Dan Miller, Rob Nicholls, Sami Makhloufi, Byron Mason ©, Dan Mason, Conor Whiteley (Stu Green 75), Brad Targett.  Unused subs : Claudio Herbert, Jake Hoole, Josh Batt, Luke Deacon

Yellow Card:  Brad Targett

Bristol Manor Farm: Ben John, Mason Winter, Aron Robbins ©, Josh Ford, Steven Kingdon, Theo Llewellyn, Jake Gosling, Michael Byrant, Ben Bament, Jamie Short (Shea Bennington-Mannings 69), Kyle Tooze.  Unused subs : Sam Boulton, Stuart Tovey, Josef Pickering

Yellow Card : Ben John, Ben Bament, Kyle Tooze

Referee:  Niall Clinton   Assistants: Alex Rush-Fear & Nigel Whitfield

Attendance: 111

Man of the Match sponsored by Powerplus : Rob Nicholls

Boatmen made it 5 wins in a row to claim second place in the league table after a battling win.  The Sholing defence had to be at its best against a Bristol Manor Farm team who possibly created more chances against us then anyone else this season, but we also had a few chances and Sami Makhloufi followed up a penalty save to score in the first half and Conor Whiteley kept up his scoring run with a fine finish in the second half.

Team News :  Boatmen hadn't played for two weeks after two successive away games were postponed due to the weather and Dave Diaper made one change in the starting line-up with Sami starting instead of Jake Hoole.  The visitors had recently seen their leading scorer, Owen Howe, leave the club, but still had some lively forwards well known to Sholing, as both Kyle Tooze & Ben Bament had scored a few against us in recent seasons for Thatcham & Paulton Rovers, respectively.

Sholing should have scored inside the first minute as a big scramble inside the visitors penalty area saw Sami & Targett both denied by last ditch blocks.  From the resultant corner, Dan Miller flicked on to Owen Roundell, who stooped low to head against the outside of the post.  Boatmen's bright start continued with Brad Targett turning and hitting a shot with the outside of his foot that curled wide of the far upright.

On 9 mins, it was Manor Farm's turn to hit the woodwork, when Gosling's snap shot from the edge of the box left Gosney watching as it pinged back off the base of the post.  The visitors were having some success down the left wing, with Tooze firing in a cross that fizzed beyond everyone in the middle and soon after a similar cross slid under Gosney's body, but no Manor Farm player was on hand to knock it into the empty net as Sholing cleared.

Another well created chance came Bristol's way on 27 mins as Llewellyn played a one-two with Gosling before hitting a measured shot that went inches over the angle of post & bar.   Two minutes later and the Boatmen were awarded a penalty, the ball fell to Brad Targett who was in process of controlling it when his ankle was kicked from behind.  There were a lot of protests from the visitors and after some handbags instigated by Ford, the referee took 3 minutes to get the penalty organised.  Dan Mason stepped up, but his shot was saved by Ben John, who did appear to be off his line, but SAMI MAKHLOUFI was quickest to react to knock in the rebound and then get a kick from the keeper.  The visitors were up in arms about something, both claiming Sami was offside and infringing and it wasnt clear the goal had been given until the referee finally picked up the ball and rolled it back to the centre spot.  John & Bament received yellow cards for Manor Farm.

Sholing almost gifted an equaliser on 42 mins, trying to play out from the back, with Bristol winning the ball and Gosling skipping past Gosney, but his tame effort was blocked near the line and the follow up by Short well saved by Gos.   It was the Boatmen's turn to go close when Cluett's corner was met with a thumping header by Targett, but the keeper stretched up an arm to palm the ball away from just under his bar.   There were more good blocks by Byron & Miller to keep Manor Farm at bay as the half time whistle blew after 5 mins of added time.  HT 1-0

The rain got heavier during the break, that fine rain.You know, the one that gets you wet.  The visitors again went close with a shot from distance as Gosling smacked it over the bar.  On 53 mins, some nice interplay saw Rob Nicholls fed into the right side of the box, his shot beat the keeper, but went narrowly wide of the far post.   From a Sholing corner, Dan Mason flicked the ball on and Roundell arrived at the far post, but on the stretch, put it over.   However, soon after, the Boatmen doubled their advantage.  Owen Roundell did well to beat two Bristol players to the ball in midfield and it fell for CONOR WHITELEY 20 yards out to hit a beautifully executed first time shot that curled into the far bottom corner to make it 3 goals in his last 3 games as he celebrated in front of the dugouts.

Conor probably should have added to his tally straight away when Brad Targett showed great skill & pace to create an opening inside the 6 yard box, that Whiteley put over.   Manor Farm got themselves back in the contest on 64 minutes when from a corner, they hit the post, but the rebound fell to Aron Robbins to knock in from close range.   Tooze fired wide for Manor Farm, as did Dan Mason for Sholing as we entered the final 15 minutes, that saw the visitors pushing hard for an equaliser, but being thwarted by some resolute defending.  There was another unnecessary incident as Marv received a boot to his chest, possibly accidently, but somehow it wasn't spotted by the officials and the Boatmen legend never goes down unless he's really hurt.  Sholing had a couple of late breakways, with both Sami & Stu Green doing well to cut into the box and get to the byline, but both times the ball into the middle was blocked away.

The referee signalled 5 minutes of added time and in the 7th minute, he finally brought a hard fought entertaining game to an end.  Boatmen might not have been at our best going forward today, but everyone worked hard, put their bodies on the line and also did well not to rise to the bait.  FT 2-1

Next Game :  Highworth Town v Sholing - Southern League - Saturday 18 December 3pm

Photos courtesy of HR Media & EspieJaz (swipe to view pics)