Ilfracombe Town 2-0 Bristol Manor Farm
Ilfracombe Town recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season after beating high flying Bristol Manor Farm 2-0 on Saturday.
The game was played on a heavy pitch in wet and windy conditions but both teams made it an entertaining encounter.
Steve Holland had the first real chance of note, whipping a half volley back across goal which flew just wide.
Manor Farm were struggling to break down an unchanged back four of Ian Cockwill, Josh Heafield, Gary Skinner and James Mayne. When they were given an opportunity midway through the half, they found Combe ‘keeper Kurtis Parkin in fine form, making a great save one on one to deny Jordan Metters.
Combe started the second half on the front foot, with Holland in particular causing the Manor Farm defence all sorts of trouble with his direct running.
The visitors then had their goalkeeper sent off for a challenge outside the box on Stan Paxton, after he failed to get to a loose ball quickest.
A Manor farm defender took the responsibility of going in goal and Combe wasted no time taking advantage. Within two minutes Mark Clunie swung in the perfect corner for Mayne to power home his first goal of the season.
Combe didn’t take long to carve their next opening, either. Substitute Jamie Bright curled a shot against the bar and also saw a powerful strike saved well by the stand-in keeper.
Combe were turning the screw and made their position considerably more comfortable when Stan Paxton scored his tenth of the season. Bright was again involved as his persistence created the opportunity for Paxton, who composed himself well before finishing with a left foot strike.
Manor Farm kept fighting but the game finished 2-0, enough to move the Bluebirds out of the bottom two above Hengrove, who they travel to next week.
“To get back to back wins and clean sheets it very pleasing,” said Ilfracombe manager Ross Middleton. “I think it’s the first time I’ve been able to name an unchanged side and that certainly helps.
“The defence and Kurtis (Parkin) were brilliant again, but the whole team defended from the front. At half time Darchy (Kevin Darch) and myself felt the lads could be a bit braver and put them under more pressure higher up the park. That certainly happened in the second half; we created a lot of good opportunities and deserved the win.
“It was a good team performance but we have a lot of work to do, consistency is everything in football and now we’ve found the level of performance needed we need to sustain it.”