Defender Grist strikes twice as Telephones reach the next round
MIKE Grist's double and fine all-round display helped drive Bristol Telephones to victory against their Suburban League Premier Division One rivals.
The centre-half struck with headers both sides of the break and fought tenaciously for the cause around more familiar territory at the back as Stockwood-based Telephones called the shots from the start and didn't relent.
The home side's cause wasn't helped by the absence of last year's player-of-the-season and central midfielder Lee Riches through injury, although 17-year-old Mitchell Underwood filled the breach well.
The teenager and his team-mates were soon facing a rearguard action, however, as a lively Telephones outfit took the tie by the scruff of the neck. Ryan Hicks teed up Kevin Gaul for an early strike, which was charged down for a corner, while Lawrence Weston keeper Sam Thomas did well to make a point-blank save from another Gaul attempt moments later.
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On ten minutes, the pressure paid off for 'Phones when Adam Gregory's deep cross into the middle was thumped home by the head of Grist for the opening goal.
The hosts were struggling to make an impact and Jacob Hicks' 20-yard strike that cleared the crossbar on 15 minutes was as good as it got for them at that stage.
At the other end, Telephones thought they had a second when Martin Blacker's free-kick was met by a stooping header into the net by Ryan Hicks, but his celebrations were silenced by a linesman's flag.
The lively Gaul continued to pose a threat in attack for Telephones and he was disappointed to see his angled drive drift narrowly wide of the far upright.
Grist then showed his defensive qualities by throwing himself in the way of Liam Claridge's goalbound shot, and the same forward glanced a header yards wide with half-time approaching.
Claridge continued to be Lawrence Weston's best hope at the start of the second half, his powerful header from a right-sided cross touched brilliantly over by Telephones keeper Neil Hanson.
But the home team were soon facing an uphill fight to stay in the competition when Telephones doubled their advantage after 55 minutes. A right-sided corner led to a scramble inside the six-yard box and Hicks pounced to drill the loose ball just inside the near post.
Lawrence Weston then produced their most promising spell in response, their big centre-back Craig Down forcing Hanson into a slick low stop and Danny Copeland stealing in unmarked to meet a cross, only to volley straight at Hanson when he appeared set to score.
They were made to rue the misses on 70 minutes when Telephones effectively killed off Lawrence Weston's comeback hopes.
Gregory swept the ball into the centre for Grist to head emphatically home.
A minute later, George Rooke and Tony Evans replaced Michael Laver and Joe Wheeler as Lawrence Weston searched in vain for an answer.
Instead, it got worse for them as Wayne Bagley fired a fourth for the away side 18 minutes from time with a fabulous 30-yard drive that flew into the top corner.
Lawrence Weston snatched one back late on when Hanson flung himself to his left to deny Copeland, but was unable to reach sub Evans' firm follow-up shot, which went in off the post.
Lawrence Weston: Sam Thomas, Michael Laver (George Rooke, 71), Ben Dyson, Craig Down, Kieran Rawlings, Mitch Underwood, Joe Wheeler (Tony Evans, 71), Aaron Still, Danny Copeland, Liam Claridge, Jacob Hicks.
Bristol Telephones: Neil Hanson, Russ Partridge, Sam Hawkes, Jamie Sheppard, Mike Grist, Ryan Hicks, Kevin Gaul, Adam Gregory, Martin Blacker, Wayne Bagley, Gary Beale. Subs (not used): Shaun Collins, Neil Osborne, Dhani Golding