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Frome Town 1-2 Bashley – Calor League Southern Premier Division, Saturday 11th January

FROME Town’s big chance of recording their first home victory of the season disappeared as a battling, young Bashley side rode their luck, took their chances and recorded only their second win of the season with a 2-1 triumph.

Manager Adrian Foster included new signing Harry Baker at number 8, and was pleased to welcome striker Aiden Kirby back into the squad after a lengthy lay off for ligament injury. This was an unusual day for Frome as it was probably the only game of the season so far that they would be expected to be favourites as they came up against a Bashley side that has only mustered four points to date in a season where their stated aim is to stay in existence.

As the match started, it was almost as if the expectation of the crowd was weighing heavily on the home players, and with Bashley having little to lose, an upset was possibly on the cards.

The second minute saw a golden chance as Harry Baker set up Mark Cooper, but the ball was on his wrong foot and disappeared over the bar from 15 yards out, and after a scrappy opening quarter, Frome started to look as if they might be starting to impose some authority on the game as they played towards the clubhouse end.

The 17th minute saw Brandon Mundy rob George Colson and head towards the dead ball line, only for the ball to bobble just as he went to cross, but then Bashley struck back as Darren Chitty saved low from Lewis Blackmore and  then watched as the same hit a shot that skimmed the far post a few minutes later.

On the half hour a move between Ben Wood and Mundy on the left wing created a shooting chance for Baker, but again the ball cleared the bar from 15 yards, and five minutes later a precision cross from Rhys Baggridge found Mundy on the far post, but his first touch let him down and the ball ricocheted wide of the far post.

Matt Smith shot wide soon after, and a 40 yard free kick from Bashley’s Manny Sorton just cleared the top corner of the net depriving the crowd of a spectacular goal. However the score remained goalless at half time and the victory starved home crowd hoped for more after the break.

Mark Cooper had to be alert early on to rob Scott Joyce as he raced through, but Frome still failed to impose their will on the match, and as the frustration grew, they went behind on the hour as Sorton produced another good run on the left wing to get to the dead ball line and pull the ball back perfectly for Charlie Davis to score with ease on the far post.

Frome had an immediate equaliser ruled out by the offside flag as Josh Ford won a header from a free kick allowing Jack Vallis to shoot home from close range, but despite the urgency with which they were now playing, the quality final ball was never there and a Bashley foot always made the clearance.

As Frome pushed five players up for a free kick, they were caught cold in the 80th minute as Bashley broke, Joyce slipped the ball through to Sorton who went round Chitty and finished with a spectacular shot into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

The last 10 minutes saw Frome desperately chasing the game, but it took them until the 90th minute to bring a save from Nick Jones, it came from a Kirby shot after a Wood throw, and though a good save, Ricky Hulbert got to the rebound and headed over the keeper and into the net to give Frome hope.

Deep into stoppage time, Hulbert almost equalised as he threw himself at a Wood left wing cross, but the ball missed the near post and, unfortunately, Frome missed all three points.

Matt Smith was awarded the “H&B Tyres Man of the Man Award” by Barry Chitty (Darren Chitty’s dad) of Barry Chitty Dairies Ltd. who had sponsored the match. Crowd: 241. Entertainment Value: 2.