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Paulton Rovers 1-0 Frome Town – Evo-Stik Southern Premier, Tuesday 14th April.

Despite playing with 10 men for more than an hour after Jack Vallis had been shown a straight red, Frome dug deep in this match. 

They showed courage and commitment but were finally undone by the cruellest of blows as Scott Wilson scored a last minute winner for Paulton.

Frome were pleased to see the return of Ben Worlock from injury and he started at number 11, with Dylan Bonella returning to the side at left back. Ben Thomson was still unavailable through injury as was Ricky Hulbert.

With Frome playing down the slope in the first half, Paulton were the first to show as they launched an attack in the first minute that ended with the referee giving a goal kick when a Paulton corner should have been the correct decision.

Frome replied with some neat football that saw both full backs joining in the attack, but if there was ever any suspicion that Paulton would have sympathy for Frome’s struggle to avoid relegation, this was soon dispelled, as the match turned into a fiercely fought local derby, with both sides very quick to close down space, and free time on the ball measured in milliseconds rather than seconds.

As such, the battles were mostly fought in midfield, with Frome looking to Lewis Haldane and Ollie Taylor to run onto through balls and Paulton probably just having the upperhand with Jon Davies prompting behind the home forwards, but the end result produced little in the way of chances and few saves for either keeper to make.

The turning point of the match arrived in the 30th minute as Jack Vallis went up for a free kick, and a legitimate tussle in the box  ended with Pat Keary on the floor, and as Vallis attempted to step over him, his foot appeared to land on the chest of the defender. The Paulton team reacted angrily and the referee took the view that it was deliberate and brandished a red card, though many in the crowd felt that the decision was harsh.

Frome re-grouped with Rhys Baggridge moving back alongside Chris McGrath, and despite the numerical disadvantage and frenetic activity, neither keeper really had a save to make in the whole of the first half.

The second half was more of the same and Darren Chitty became the first keeper to make a save in the match as he tipped over a Liam Monelle shot after he had been set free by Mitchell Page, and Frome were a little fortunate in the 57th as a quickly taken Paulton free kick saw Monelle blaze past the far post as he ran into space.

As the minutes ticked away, it seemed as if Frome were going to gain a share of the points with Chris McGrath outstanding at the heart of the defence, but in the last minute of normal time, a momentary lapse of concentration allowed Scott Wilson to break clear on the right and he cut in and finished with a sweetly struck shot past Chitty and that was the way it stayed, with Frome being applauded off the pitch at the end by the their fans for a monumental effort which just failed to gain a point.

Chris McGrath was awarded the  H&B Tyres Man of the Match award for an excellent performance under almost continuous pressure.

Crowd: 357. Entertainment Value: 4/5.

 

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