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Wed. 1st November. Frome Town 3-0 Stratford Town – Evo-Stik Southern Premier

After Saturday’s disappointing result in the FA Trophy, Frome bounced back with a very good performance against a useful Stratford Town side that saw them run out comfortable winners, thanks to  goals from Kris Miller, Ryan Bath and Ollie Knight.

With Marcus Mapstone, Jake Jackson and Mitchell Page unavailable for various reasons, manager Josh Jeffries was forced to shuffle the squad and loan signing from Bristol Rovers, Ben Morgan, started alongside Chas Hemmings in the centre of defence and Ryan Bath started his first league game of the season at centre forward.

On a cold, still night, the match kicked off with both sides looking to attack and both starting at pace. Frome started to create the first chances as first Darren Jefferies had a screaming shot bravely blocked by Liam Francis, and with George Miller putting a side foot shot just past the far post after Ryan Bath had done well to win the ball, Frome looked much sharper than in their defeat on Saturday.

Frome started to apply real pressure in the 22nd,  leading to Jon Davies bringing a low save from Louis Connor, and the pressure finally told in the 25th as Davies produced a wicked in-swinging cross that Bath did well to get to. As the ball looped up and out, it fell to Kris MIller who hit the ball downwards and across the goal into the far corner for the opening goal.

Frome were now starting to dominate the game, and in the 35th, another 20 yard screamer from Jefferies was just pushed round the post. As the resulting corner was swung in, an amazing period of pinball saw at least two, and probably three clearances of the line, before the whistle gave Stratford some temporary relief.

Stratford were playing their part in the match with counter attacks whenever they had the chance, but the home defence were up to the challenge. It was Frome who went closest again in the remaining minutes as Davies brought another save from Connor and a cross from Ollie Knight was just headed over at the near post by Bath,

Stratford came out quickly in the second half, but Frome again went close in the 56th as Davies brought a save from the legs of Connor as he broke clear. He was also instrumental in Frome’s second goal two minutes later, as his perfect left wing corner found the head of Bath, who had no problem heading the ball downwards and over the line for a 2-0 lead that they richly deserved.

Frome continued to look dangerous every time they came forward, and they effectively sealed the game in the 76th as a cross field ball found Jefferies in space and as he went on a mazy run past three challenges. It looked like he might have gone too far wide, but his low shot was palmed out by Connor, and Knight was on hand to bundle the ball over the line from close range.

Kyle Phillips brought off a great save as he managed to get a hand to a close range header a few minutes later and a second save a few minutes later, he again did well to deny Stratford a consolation goal that their performance probably deserved on the night. But then it could easily have been 4-0 in the 87th as Davies laid it on a plate for Joe Raynes to slide in and push the ball over the line, but somehow he got under the ball and it cleared the cross bar.

Chas Hemmings was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award, and his partnership with debutant Ben Morgan was a highlight of the night.

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