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Kettering Town 1-1 Frome Town – Evo-Stik Southern Premier, Tues. 16th Feb.

An early penalty  for  Kettering  and a late penalty for Frome resulted in a very creditable draw for the visitors,  and with a little luck, their excellent second half performance could well have resulted in all three points coming back to Somerset.

Frome played their sixth successive away match in a row, and will have travelled almost 1500 miles since playing their last home game way back on 6th January, and despite a good win by Kettering at Chippenham on Saturday, hopes were high that Frome could get something from this match as the defence is proving very difficult to beat at the moment.

The squad included Rob Hobbs who was returning from suspension and a welcome return for Steve Hulbert who has been out of the side since the start of the season with a groin injury that has taken a long while to heal.

Frome went close in the 10th minute as a Kris Miller cross to the far post was met by James Fitzgibbon who headed the ball back across the goalmouth without anyone getting a touch, and three minutes later Darren Chitty showed his class as he arched his back to turn a drive from Liam Canavan behind for a corner.

Frome had a second penalty in two matches awarded against them in the 18th minute as a Rene Howe goalbound shot struck the hand of a defender, with the referee awarding the spot kick while the linesman was flagging for a corner, and although Wilson Carvalho converted from the spot, Chitty got a good hand to the ball and was unlucky not to keep it out.

Marcus Mapstone managed to get on the end of a Kris Miller free kick in the 28th, but his header from 10 yards went wide, and then a George Miller drive from 20 yards went just wide before the midfielder was replaced by Jake Jackson due to illness.

On the stroke of half time, the hosts nearly extended their lead, but Chitty did well to save the first effort from Canavan and then did even better to deny James Brighton as he let fly from the edge of the area following the rebound.

After a good first half from the visitors that had seen them very much in the match, Kettering had a couple of half chances early on as a dipping effort from Canavan went just wide of the top corner, and Mapstone made a brave clearance off the line as a dangerous left wing cross came in.

Despite these early scares, Frome were now starting to move onto the front foot and, on the hour, James Fitzgibbon broke clean through the home defence only to be denied by a save from Craig Hill, and Hill had to be alert to save a Fitzgibbon volley from the resulting corner.

Frome now moved into top gear and were looking the side most likely to score and their efforts were rewarded in the 78th minute as Mitchell Page was bundled over by Gary Mulligan, the referee pointed to the spot and Kris Miller converted clinically.

As Frome went for the winner a header from Jackson was just tipped over in the 82nd and after coach Josh Jeffries had replaced Miller in the 91st minute, he immediately found himself in acres of space with just Hill to beat, but the ball wouldn’t fall right and the shot was straight at Hill who made the save.

So, after a run of six away games and almost 1500 miles, Frome have managed one win three draws and two defeats, and their are signs that momentum is starting to build in the squad. Hopefully the weather will be kind and allow the home match against Chippenham to go ahead on Saturday before another two away league games.

James Fitzgibbon was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award, and was a fitting reward for a youngster who is now starting to become a permanent fixture on the team sheet.

Frome Scorers: K Miller (79p). Kettering  Scorers: Howe (18p). Crowd: 425. Star Man: James Fitzgibbon. Entertainment Value: 4/5.

 

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