Street 0 - 1 Bristol Manor Farm
Tuesday 11th July 2017
Last season’s runners up Street got their pre-season campaign up and running on Tuesday evening when they entertained champions Bristol Manor Farm, who are preparing for life in the Southern League, writes Kerry Miller.
Despite a downpour which lasted all day and most of the match, the Tannery pitch was in perfec t nick as the sides played out a full paced game which was decided by a looping header from Farm new boy Jack Hargreaves 20 minutes from time.
It was a good run out for the Cobblers who have two more outings before they take on AFC Mansfield, from the North East Counties League, in the Toolstation Cup Final, at Cribbs FC on Saturday week. Street’s Dale Hunt and Farm’s Rhys Hodgson exchanged chances early on before the home side’s Aiden Chainey brought a fine save from Ashley Clarke in the visiting goal. Steve Murray should have put Street ahead on the half hour but his point blank header was somehow kept out by Clarke then he escaped down the left but his dangerous cross came to nothing.
Farm began to introduce their powerful looking bench players after the break and Dean Stamp caused no little problems and twice went close before Street were forced to make a change when Craig Herrod caught a stray boot and was led off with a cut eye on the hour.
Ten minutes later substitute Hargreaves popped up to loop a long cross over Tom Punchard for what proved to be the winning goal and despite Murray twice more going close, Street had to give best and move on to the visit of Mangotsfield United on Friday night (7.45pm).
‘Settled side at the Tannery’
Street took Bristol Manor Farm all the way last season to finish in their joint highest ever position in the Western League and look set to capitalise on a settled squad and committed staff behind the scenes.
Vice-chairman James Vickery has moved from the secretary role at the club where he enjoyed three seasons and was quick to praise his colleagues at the club, saying: “I was made really welcome as soon as came here despite not having been connected with football before and it was made easier by our chairman James Court, who is a good friend.
“The new secretary is Richard Pallette, who has come back to the area and of course last year was very successful as we just missed out to Manor Farm.”
The Tannery Ground is looking a picture at the moment, having had a number of improvements with Southern League football firmly at the front of the club’s mind. A new 50 seater stand has gone in alongside the existing covered terrace on the clubhouse side while a new turnstile block has been built as well as a ticket office, toilets within the ground and a perimeter wall.
In the end the funding for the project and planning permission came just to late for the club to have taken promotion, had they won the Premier Division, but Richard Fey and Nathan Rudge know what it is going to take and have the luxury of a virtually unchanged squad to work with ahead of the Toolstation Cup Final with AFC Mansfield.
Having lost just Lewis Tasker to local football in Newton Abbot and keeper Fraser McDiarmuid to Berrow and Highbridge, the management duo have brought in left back Lee Sweet, a 23 year old from departed Gillingham Town and Aiden Chainey, who is back at the Tannery having also left Gillingham.
Vickery added: “The team is settled and the ground is ready to be graded so we can’t wait to get going in the new season.”
Following the Mangotsfield game on Friday, Fey takes his side to Ashton and Backwell United next Tuesday before the final at Cribbs on Saturday week.
In the FA Cup the side entertain fellow Premier Division Hallen in the extra-preliminary round with the winners going to either Bridport or St Austell, while they are exempt in the FA Vase to the first round proper.