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Frome Town 0-0 St. Albans – Southern Premier League, Sat 26th April

St. Albans needed a point from this match to ensure their place in the play-offs, and despite Frome having Ben Thomson sent off on the hour, the match always looked like a 0-0 draw was a distinct possibility, and in the end that’s how it finished.

Almost before the crowd had taken their places, Jack Vallis thumped a header against the base of the visitor’s post, and Frome certainly started brightly enough as they probed the St. Albans defence several times in the first 10 minutes.

Matt Smith let fly with a low 20 yarder in the 16th minute and St. Albans had their first real chance in the 23rd as Steve Wales let fly from the edge of the area, but the shot cleared the cross bar by a fair way.

As the half progressed, St Albans started to play with some authority and were denied an opening goal in the 34th minute as Ram Marwa headed home an in-swinging corner, but the whistle had already blown for an infringement elsewhere. The second half started brightly with a good run from Wales leading to a lob by James Comley that Darren Chitty was just able to take under his crossbar.

Josh Ford cleared off his own line in the 51st minute and the match seemed finely balanced, but that all changed in the 60th minute as Ben Thomson was involved in a tussle with Lee Chappell that ended up with a melee, and presumably as a result of something that happened in the scuffle, Thomson was shown a straight red after the referee discussed the matter with his assistants. The 10 men of Frome then entered their best spell of the match as it seemed that they had a point to prove, and Groves brought a save from Baston after being set up by Hulbert and then Ben Wood cut in from the left and unleashed a strong shot that Baston did well to get his body behind.

As the match moved towards the final whistle, St Alban’s seemed very content to keep possession in the Frome half, but Frome always looked like they could spoil the visitors party, but it wasn’t to be and the final whistle brought smiles from both camps as St. Albans moved into the play-offs and Frome celebrated their highest ever premier league points total after a season which had, at times, promised only a battle against relegation.