Kev Bridgeman’s Malmesbury Victoria farewell ended in a heavy defeat as they bowed out of the FA Vase after a 5-1 defeat against Wessex Premier League side Sholing on Saturday.

The Vics struggled against a side who have won all 11 of their league games so far this season and Malmesbury found themselves 4-0 down at half time as they struggled to cope with their classy opponents blistering start.

They were 5-0 down after 51 minutes but put in a spirited performance in the second half and became the first side to score against Sholing in 747 minutes of football, a run stretching back to October 2, when Kyle Witt poked the ball under the goalkeeper in the 87th minute.

Bridgeman was pleased his team didn’t lose the second half but admitted his side were outclassed and feels Sholing are one of the favourites to potentially win the FA Vase.

“We were comprehensively beaten by a team who will be there or thereabouts at the end of the competition,” he said. “We were full of optimism on Saturday, we had more people than seats on the coach.

“We were 4-0 down at half time which was disappointing.

“As good as Sholing were, they were absolutely fantastic, we just didn’t get out the blocks whereas they were like rockets right from the start.

“At half time we said the game was done so lets show bite and not lose the second half. We made early changes and kept plugging away. We got a goal and it was a good experience for us overall.”

The now former Malmesbury boss was mesmerised by some of Sholing’s play and was particularly complimentary of their forwards.

“The amount of quality they had all over the park was unbelievable,” Bridgeman commented.

“In our league you get one or two players who are class and stand out but I’d say at least nine of their players were top class, something we’ve never seen before.

“Their strikers have scored around 48 goals between them , they were different gravy, their movement was incredible so it was one of those where you just hold your hands up.”

On return to Malmesbury, the club held a farewell party for Bridgeman, who is moving to Manchester and he admitted it was a bit of an emotional occasion.

“They threw me a party when we got back,” he added. “I thanked the boys and it was a bit emotional. It will be strange when I come back at Christmas time and probably pay £5 to get in.”

New Vics boss Andy Wicks got off to a good start in his first game, as two Sam Parker goals saw them come from behind to beat Easington Sports in the Floodlit Cup.