Ilfracombe suffer Friday night defeat at Bristol Manor Farm
ILFRACOMBE Town were unable to find a spark in a 5-2 defeat at Bristol Manor Farm in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division on Friday night.
As fireworks went off all around the first ever Friday night match at The Creek, the Bluebirds were causing more of a whimper than a bang as they succumbed to a far brighter home side.
Without the unavailable Michael Heddon and Darren Parish, Neil Bettiss came back in at centre half to partner Craig Allen with James Mayne moving to central midfield and Josh Heafield coming in at left back.
Ilfracombe won the reverse fixture 5-3 in September; but the changes in personnel and a long, late journey appeared to take its toll as Farm took the early initiative.
The hosts took the lead from the penalty spot on 21 minutes when Allen wrestled Luke Clarke to the ground.
Steve Oliver will feel a little disappointed after getting two hands on Clarke’s spot kick that somehow still managed to sneak into the bottom corner.
‘Combe were awarded a penalty of their own six minutes later. Shaun Lewis was brought to the ground twice before the referee awarded a kick that was successfully dispatched by Ross Middleton.
Farm didn’t let it faze them and they went 3-1 up at the break with an own goal and a strike by Paul Coles, as the visitors struggled to get any sort of a grip on the game.
Heafield fell ill just as the second half was about to start and while ‘Combe continued with 10 men as a replacement was readied, the hosts increased their lead through Brad Abraham after a goalmouth scramble.
Despite the deficit, ‘Combe actually played better football in the second half and deserved to pull a goal back through Shaun Lewis.
Claims for a second penalty were waived away after Lewis was then brought tumbling to the ground. Other good chances fell to Middleton and Leon Taswell who between them had two strikes cleared off the line and one hit the post in a valiant second-half response
Farm finished the game with a late Steve Fitzpatrick goal on the counter attack.
Ilfracombe will look to rebuild this week as they face another tough away trip to Street on Saturday.
Barnstaple Town’s Les Phillips Cup match at home to Corsham Town on Saturday was postponed due to the closure of the M5 following Friday night’s crash.
The match has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 26.