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Sat. 2nd Sept. FA Cup 1st Qlfying Round Frome Town 2 AFC Totton 1

FROME Town produced their first home win of the season as they came from a goal down to win 2-1 against AFC Totton and progress to the 2nd qualifying round, thanks to goals from Darren Jefferies and Jon Davies.

Frome were able to start Mitchell Page alongside Jake Jackson for the first time this year, meaning that they were now playing with a pair of strikers rather than just the one, though with Marcus Mapstone and Rob Hobbs both unavailable, the bench looked a little light so early in the season.

On a warm day and in front of a fairly sparse crowd for a cup tie, the match started with Totton going close as Nat Sherbourne latched onto a mistake by Kris Miller to let fly with a volley that cleared the crossbar, and with Kyle Phillips immediately requiring treatment to a foot injury that saw him hobbling for the rest of the match, it was a little worrying.

Frome were lucky to survive a Totton corner in the 11th that saw two headers somehow scrambled away to safety, but as the game settled, Darren Jeferies then went close with a shot that cleared the far post as he cut in from the left, and Totton also survived a penalty shout as Jake Jackson seemed to be wrestled to the ground in the penalty area.

Frome tended to have the better of a slightly lack-lustre first half, and with Mitchell Page causing problems in the air all the time, Jefferies hit a low screamer into the body of Shane Murphy in the 34th, Jackson stung the keeper’s palms with another cleanly hit shot in the 42nd and Page himself hit the side netting just before half time, after a great Davies run had set him up.

Despite Frome’s ascendancy, Totton opened the scoring three minutes after half time as a move on the left saw Craig Feeney get to the dead ball line and pull the ball back for Curtis Young to slot home with ease, giving Frome a wake up call that they needed to step up a gear.

After Joe Raynes had had a shot blocked and Sam Teale had just managed to break up a Totton counter attack, Frome equalised in the 57th with a surprisingly simple goal that showed how easy this game can be on occasions.

Chas Hemmings took the goal kick (in place of the injured Kyle Phillips) and found the head of Page, who headed on to Jackson who then laid the ball into the path of Jefferies who then advanced ten yards to hit an excellent low left foot shot past Murphy for a well worked goal and a deserved equaliser.

As the Frome forwards started to work together as a unit, chances started to come and five minutes later, Page nodded the ball to Davies who unselfishly laid the ball into the path of Jefferies who then brought a good sharp save from Murphy, though the resulting corner led to a Totton counter-attack that Phillips did well to stop with a good low save.

Frome were now starting to play the way the fans know that they can, and after Jackson had headed a cross just wide, Ben Withey overlapped on the left for the first time this season, and it seemed that the second goal might arrive at any time, and arrive it did in the 71st.

Joe Raynes won the ball in midfield and played a simple ball to Jackson who then split the defence with a through ball to Davies who hurdled the challenge of Adam Wilde before shooting high into the net for an excellent finish.

Jackson should really have increased the lead in the 75th as he played a lovely 1-2 with Davies that saw him put through clean on goal, only for Murphy to again save well, and with Davies starting to find passes that nobody else could, the Totton defenders were starting to pick up yellow cards as they tried to deal with the runs of the Frome attackers.

Man of the Match Mitchell Page was substituted by Ollie Knight in the 76th to an ovation from the crowd, and with Knight causing problems on the left and close to getting a penalty towards the end, Frome always looked likely to get another, but to their credit Totton kept going to the end and Phillips had to be alert to save the day on a couple of occasions.

Mitchell Page  was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award and as his match fitness returns, it is clear how influential he will be this season.   Crowd: 191. Entertainment Value: 3/5.