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Frome Town 0-1 Taunton Town – Somerset Premier Cup Final, Tue. 29th April

Despite Taunton Town ending the match with nine players, Frome Town couldn’t find a way to unlock the resolute Taunton defence and the Somerset Premier Cup headed back to the County Town thanks to a single goal from Nat Pepperell. 

Frome kept their normal starting line up with the exception of the cup-tied Kris Miller whose place was taken by Brandon Mundy. Taunton came into the match as a very much in-form team with eight straight league wins having scored 15 and conceded only three during those matches, so this was always going to be a tough match to call.

Frome started the match kicking up the slope towards the covered end where the Frome fans were massed and in good voice, and the early exchanges showed that space was going to be at a premium in this match, with both teams closing down very quickly and denying space and time to the opposition.

Frome had the ball in the net in the 11th minute as Ben Thomson flicked on and Rhys Baggridge applied the final touch from close range, only for the goal to be ruled out by the linesman’s flag, and two minutes later, only a great saving tackle from Jon Vance denied Taunton the opening goal as Darren Chitty came way out of his area and was left in no-man’s land until Vance just got his foot in and deflected the shot away for a corner.

As the match settled, Taunton began to take a stranglehold on the midfield, closing down very quickly and forcing Frome to play in their own half, but the game was continuously being broken up by the sound of the referee’s whistle, and in a match that was never bad tempered, slightly less stringent application of the laws would have led to more of a spectacle.

Both side’s main chances of scoring came from free kicks, corners and long throws, and a Ben Wood throw in the 23rd led to a period of pinball in the Taunton  area, and a glanced header from Taunton’s Jamie Price just kissed the outside of the Frome post two minutes later. Just as it seemed like the scorer was gong to remain untroubled, Taunton took the lead on the stroke of half time as the Frome defence missed a couple of chances to clear the ball, allowing Nat Pepperell to curl a delightful ball into the far top corner of the Frome goal from a spot just outside the penalty area.

The second half was more of the same, with Taunton winning everything that was thrown at them and Frome not really being able to work out a way to create anything meaningful, and it took 35 minutes of the second half before Frome carved out an opening as Jon Vance seemed to be clean through and about to shoot, only to be taken down by a Taunton defender right on the edge of the area. Unfortunately the free kick was tame and Joe Perry made an easy save.

As the match approached injury time, it started to get frantic as Frome threw everything up looking for the equaliser, and in a match played in good spirit and a frantic pace, the referee added two red cards to the numerous yellow cards that he had shown on the night as he showed a straight red to Taunton’s Chris Young for a flick after the ball had gone, and then showed a straight red to Taunton substitute Steve Murray for  a late tackle.

Both red cards came deep into injury time, and despite Frome throwing everybody up for the last corner, it wasn’t going to be, and Taunton were deserved winners on the night.

Jack Vallis was awarded the “H&B Tyres Man of the Man Award”  for another towering performance at the heart of the defence. Frome Scorers: None. Taunton Scorers : Pepperell (45 + 1). Star Man: Jack Vallis. Entertainment Value: 3.