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Saturday 2nd Dec. Evo-Stik Southern Premier Frome Town 2 Kettering Town 2

Only a  super show from Frome’s goalkeeper Kyle Phillips and his defence prevented Kettering taking home all three points as the visitors went into overdrive in the second half. This was after Frome had just shaded the first half and taken a 2-1 lead in the 78th through Joe Raynes, when Kettering quickly equalised through Aaron O’Connor and pressurised the home defence right to the final whistle.

Frome were down to a bare bones squad for this match, with both Ollie Knight and Mitchell Page suspended, and with Marcus Mapstone still carrying  a hamstring niggle that left him in doubt right up to the start of the game, there wasn’t much opportunity for Josh Jeffries to play any tunes with team selection, and with 4th placed Kettering going well, the match was going to prove to be a tough one.

However, after an even first few minutes, Frome started to take control and Jon Davies went close in the 6th. He cut inside from the right and hit his left foot shot just over the bar, and he went even closer four minutes later as he did the same thing again, but this time a right foot toe poke evaded everyone to just clear the far post.

Davies was on fire during this period, and in the 12th he went past two players before hitting a dipping volley that Paul White managed to push onto the post. He did well to react and save again as Jake Jackson was the first to the rebound.

The pressure told in the 14th as George Miller ghosted unnoticed along the Kettering six-yard line and had all the time in the world to nod home a Davies free kick that was curled in perfectly from the left. Frome really deserved their lead at this point, and they could have doubled it two minutes later as a Chas Hemmings screamer from 25 yards just passed over the bar. However, the hard running, powerful Kettering forwards announced their intent shortly afterwards as O’Connor cut in from the left and unleashed a shot that Phillips showed great reaction, to just tip over the bar. Davies again showed his class in the 23rd as he hit a great low, clean volley from 25 yards that White did well to push round for a corner.

Frome carried on dominating, with George Miller shooting into the body of White and Hemmings again going close, but then Kettering equalised in the 35th minute as a rapid counter attack seemed to be broken up by Kris Miller, only for his clearance to be charged down and the dangerous O’Connor latched onto the ball and drove cleanly home form a tight angle as he was forced wide.

As the match evened out with the visitors looking more and more dangerous as half-time approached, Frome almost snatched a second right on the stroke of the interval as a free kick fell dangerously in the 6 yard box and Hemmings seemed so surprised that he was only able to poke the ball into the arms of White from close range.

Quite how Phillips managed to keep the ball out of the Frome net in the 54th after Hemmings had somehow managed to clear the ball off the line, is a mystery to most observers. But then Frome had a good mini spell of pressure around the hour-mark as first Darren Jefferies shot past the post after a good run, and then Jackson headed a perfect Kris Miller cross into the arms of White, when it almost seemed easier to score.

Phillips again produced a world-class save in the 61st, to tip a 25-yard screamer from Kettering’s Ben Toseland up and onto the cross bar. Kettering then moved into a period of almost total domination as they launched wave after wave of attacks, with the home defence and Phillips working overtime to foil them time after time.

However, against the run of play, Frome very nearly took the lead as Davies cut in from the right and produced a superb low ball that Jackson almost touched into the net. In a carbon copy move, they did take the lead in the 78th as Davies produced another inviting cross that perfectly coincided with the arrival of Joe Raynes and his touch took the ball up and into the roof of the net, to the delight of the home fans.

Unfortunately, for the second week running, those cheers were stifled as Kettering immediately struck back to equalise, and after Phillips had made another outstanding save, he was powerless as O’Connor glanced a near post header home from the resulting corner.

With ten minutes left to play, Kettering went for broke and launched continuous attacks that only desperate defending and numerous Phillips saves kept out. But Frome still somehow managed to carve out a chance towards the end with both Jackson and Teale going close from two successive corners, but then right on the final whistle, Joe Raynes showed the spirit of the side as he used his body to block a thunderous shot that would surely have given Kettering all three points.

The team were rightly applauded off the pitch at the end, and it was only a determination not to be beaten that enabled Frome to avoid defeat in this match.

Goalkeeper Kyle Phillips was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award by match sponsors Collegians FC and it was fully justified today, with some phenomenal saves.


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