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Frome Town 1-3 Hereford United – Southern Premier League, Sat. 22nd Nov.

A first minute goal from Frome’s Lewis Haldane set up an entertaining match. 

But in the end Hereford were too strong in all departments, and after equalising in the first half, two goals within a minute late in the second half gave them a deserved 3-1 victory.

Frome’s squad saw Mark Cooper return from suspension and start at left back, and with Ollie Taylor returning from Woking, he started alongside Lewis Haldane as twin strikers, and with Ben Thomson also on the bench after returning from injury the front line is starting to have  a potent look to it.

It only took Frome 50 seconds to open the scoring as a cross-field ball from Matt Smith saw  Hereford’s goalkeeper Luke Williams race out of his penalty area, only to be beaten comprehensively to the ball by Haldane who then turned and shot cleanly home into the unguarded net for a great finish.

The 17th minute saw a Hereford free kick hammered into the Frome defensive wall, and as it came back out, a cross picked out Javia Roberts on the far post and after he drove it home, the visitors celebrations were cut short by the raised flag of the linesman on the far side and the goal was disallowed for offside.

Hereford looked to be getting stronger as the match progressed and their equaliser in the 20th minute was typical of the type of move that was going to give Frome problems all afternoon. Right back Josh Yorweth picked the ball up just inside the Frome half, ran at the defence and after using a couple of clever interchanges with team mates, he arrived unmarked in the Frome area and shot cleanly past Darren Chitty low into the far corner.

Frome continued to show the frailty in midfield that has cost them in recent matches, as each loss of possession when attacking seems to be immediately punished by the opposition. But they rode their luck during the first half and went very close in the 40th as Aaron Rodriguez went on a mazy run that left four opponents floundering in his wake, and as he set Haldane free, a cross to the far post saw Taylor just fail to squeeze a header over the line and as Smith followed up with a point blank shot, how the ball stayed out of the goal is a mystery.

However, Hereford immediately counter attacked and Javia Roberts shot wide when it was easier to score after Chitty had mis-kicked  and a few minutes later some route one football from Hereford allowed Mor Diop a clear opportunity, but again he missed the target.

Hereford should have taken the lead within 20 seconds of the start of the second half as the unmarked Bilal Yofai failed to get his stooping header on target from five yards out and Chitty had to be very alert to save a header from Mor Diop that was heading for the far corner two minutes later.

With Haldane and Taylor becoming increasingly isolated from the action at this point, Frome then entered a phase where they started to pass the ball around and looked a much better side as they played fewer long balls. This led to the odd half chance for Smith, Haldane and Taylor, but nothing really tested Luke Williams in the visitor’s goal, and as the match headed for the last quarter, Hereford seemed to get stronger and spend longer in the Frome half.

The visitors took the lead in the 84th with a move similar to their first goal as quick interchanges saw them leave several Frome defenders bypassed, and Mor Diop was the beneficiary as he arrived in the Frome box and shot low and hard into the corner.

Mor Diop was also instrumental in the third goal that arrived a minute later and his pass found substitute Dan Sullivan on the edge of the Frome box and he scored the goal of the game as he curled a beauty into the far top corner of Chitty’s goal – at least it was thought it was Dan Sullivan as Hereford seemed not to have any substitutes shirts, and there were three shirts on the pitch that finished the match on the backs of different players to the ones that had started the match in those shirts.

Once again, Frome were a little unfortunate to run into one of the Southern League’s “form teams”, but the match does highlight the strength in depth that these teams seem to have in midfield and when running at pace with the ball and committing defenders.

The returning Mark Cooper was chosen for the “H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award” by match sponsors Sumo and Zippy, and he certainly had his work cut out dealing with a side that liked to attack down the right wing.

Frome Scorers: Haldane (1). Hereford Scorers: Yorwth (22), Mor Diop (84), Sullivan (85). Crowd: 265. Star Man: Mark Cooper. Entertainment Value: 4.