Sodbury’s FA Cup run comes to an end
The FA Cup first qualifying round visited the Ridings in Sodbury for the very first time and a large crowd turned out to watch their local side attempt to continue their fine run in this year’s competition against Bristol Manor Farm.
Having won their previous three cup encounters this season with replays, extra time winners and late goals featuring, the Sods had high hopes of progressing.
However a punishing 8-0 defeat at the hands of Bridgewater and the loss of their manager Neil Simmons who resigned after four straight league defeats left the home side weakened. With several key players out due to injury and suspension the omens were not good but the home side began well putting their visitors under pressure with two early corners.
It soon became apparent that Bristol Manor Farm, from Division One south of the Southern League, would be a difficult team to break down.
As the half progressed Sodbury were reduced to defending in numbers and they struggled to build any meaningful attack with their only outlet the long ball to a solitary forward.
Bristol enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and on 17 minutes were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. The three man wall didn’t move as a fierce shot rattled the top of the cross bar and out for a goal kick.
On 22 minutes the visitors took the lead. Good work down the Sodbury left allowed Owen Howe to find plenty of room inside the area and as the defence stood off he struck a ferocious shot which left Dando stranded.
The Bristol pressure continued unabated and just eleven minutes later they took a 2-0 lead. Their second goal followed a patient build up starting deep in their own half. A through ball split the midfield and a clever flick-on found Howe unmarked and he finished with a first time shot from inside the penalty area.
Dando kept the home side in contention with a string of fine saves but it was clear as the half closed that their opponents had the quality all over the pitch to pose too big a challenge.
The second half began in much the same vein as the first with Manor Farm dominating possession and Sodbury struggling to clear their lines. With just four minutes gone the visitors were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box following a foul.
In the ensuing melee the Sodbury fullback was struck to the ground and left with a cut just above his eye. The referee had not seen the incident but consulted his assistant who confirmed that the two-goal hero from the first half should receive his marching orders. The resultant free kick beat the three man wall and Dando parried the low shot, pushing it to safety.
The game became disjointed and Bristol lost their rhythm as Sodbury tried to take advantage of the extra man. Striker Liam Pullen was introduced replacing Jamie Samuel in an effort to bolster the attack and the Sods enjoyed a greater share of the possession for the first time in the match.
The Sods forced a number of corners over the following 20 minutes but were unable to break down a stubborn defence. They made a number of half chances but were unable to capitalise on their superior numbers and it was Bristol who came closest to adding to the score.