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Frome Town 2-2 Histon – Evo-Stik Southern Premier, Sat. 5th Dec.

After a poor first half, Frome found themselves 2-0 down to Histon just after the break, but a much better second half performance saw them equalise and very nearly snatch the three points.

With Frome playing their first league match for almost a month and their last home match before Christmas, manager Nick Bunyard was happy to have a fully fit squad to pick from, only for captain Sam Teale to pull up with a hamstring strain in the warm up, necessitating Kris Miller moving to left back and Connor Roberts taking his place at right back.

With Histon just a single place above them in the league, this was a real six pointer and if Frome could win, it would take them out of the relegation places, but with Histon having scored more than twice as many goals as Frome, keeping a clean sheet could well prove a problem.

The wind was always going to have a big effect on this match and with it blowing strongly from one corner flag to the other, with occasional very strong gusts, the match was always going to be a story of two halves and the team that dealt with the conditions would always have an advantage.

The match started with Histon having the advantage of the wind at their backs, and they had a big chance to take the lead in the 6th minute as a cross from the right took several deflections before falling to Histon’s big centre forward Josh Oyinsan who put the ball wide from six yards out.

Darren Chitty was called into action to make a good save with his legs two minutes later to save a deflected shot from Luke Trotman, and as the minutes ticked by it was clear that Frome were not dealing with the conditions and Histon were creating all the chances.

They duly took the lead in the 28th minute as Miller won the ball for Frome on the left, but then played a highly dangerous ball infield which fell invitingly for Histon’s Jordan Nicholson to hit a volley from 20 yards that kept low and buried itself in the corner of Chitty’s net.

Frome were strangely flat and ineffective for the rest of the half, with their only attempt on goal coming in the 38th as Darren Jefferies cut inside and brought a regulation save from Brenden Brown, and they very nearly went into the interval two goals down as a mis-hit from Nicholson found Oyinsan in space, but the striker guided  the ball past the post from six yards.

The second half started with Histon giving Frome an immediate lesson in how to attack against the wind as an unchallenged run on the right wing from Nick Freeman allowed him to pull the ball back to Oyinsan who slid in and scored from close range, and at this point the writing looked to be on the wall for the home side.

However, the game started to change in their favour as the referee penalised Brown for holding on to the ball for too long, and from the indirect free kick just inside the area, Monelle hit the bar as he slid in on the rebound.

After Histon’s Evan Key had been shown a yellow for a foul, Jon Davies’s wind assisted free kick was just tipped over by Brown, and from the resulting corner, Mitchell Page’s header was poked home from close range by Rob Hobbs and suddenly the game turned, with Frome now seeming to wake up and believe in themselves.

With defender Miller being replaced by attacker Tyler Sibbick in the 67th minute, Frome were really going for the equaliser and within a minute of the substitution, Darren Jefferies produced one of the best runs of the match to go past three tackles and produce a perfect cross onto the head of Sibbick, who headed home from close range to set up an intriguing last 20 minutes.

With Frome now on the front foot, Histon showed that they would also like the three points and only a good last ditch tackle from Nathan Summers retrieved a dangerous situation and Chitty did well a few minutes later to save at full stretch from Oyinsan.

The last few minutes were a frenzy of attacks with Frome having chances but failing to find the clinical finish and Histon almost winning it in the 87th as Freeman put a far post header wide as he got on the end of a dangerous free kick, but the score remained at 2-2, and in the final analysis, that was a pretty fair result.

It is also pleasant to be able to say that the officials handled the match impeccably and showed how a sensible approach to refereeing can produce a much better match for the spectators.

Rob Hobbs was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award after another commanding performance in midfield and a very timely goal.

Crowd: 142. Entertainment Value: 3/5.

 

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