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Frome Town 1-0 Chippenham Town – Evo-Stik Southern Premier, Sat. 20th Feb.

An excellent all round performance from Frome and a single goal from Frome’s George Miller in the 71st minute was enough to gain a priceless three points and extend Frome’s unbeaten run to four matches in their battle to avoid relegation.

Frome’s team showed little change from the side that had done so well midweek at Kettering, but Jon Davies had recovered from and took his place in the starting line up, and with James Fitzgibbon playing wide on the left, Darren Jefferies played more as central midfielder.

After the initial sparring of the opening minutes, Frome were the first to show as a Kerry Miller brought a punched clearance from Kent Kauppinen and the visiting keeper had to be alert to save again as Sam Teale drove a shot straight at him.

After a flurry of Frome corners in the 8th minute, Chippenham broke quickly and Darren Chitty was forced to make a sharp low save from Alex Ferguson after he had been set up by James Guthrie, and Chippenham showed again how dangerous they are on the break as a Guthrie volley following a missed defensive header again brought a good save from Chitty.

Frome had the ball in the net in the 15th minute as a lovely through ball from James Fitzgibbon found Jon Davies in space, and although he shot easily past Kauppinen, the effort was ruled out by a linesman’s flag bringing howls of derision from the home support.

Chitty again did well to deny Alan Griffin as the veteran striker got on the end of a right wing cross, but then Frome went close as a clever flick from Davies found Mitchell Page and his volley on the turn from 12 yards thumped into the chest of Kauppinen.

The rest of the first half followed the pattern of Frome probably shading territory and possession with neat approach play, but inevitably running up against the solid pairing of Greg Tindle and Mark Preece, and with Kaupinnen tidying up behind, it is clear why Chippenham are looking good for at least a play off spot this year.

With the score 0-0 at half time, it was becoming clear that a single goal would probably win this match, and there was a sigh of relief from the home fans as the linesman’s flag ruled out an effort from Andy Sandell after three minutes, and as the half settled, it almost seemed like a mirror image of the first half, with Chippenham now creating the pressure and Frome looking to score on the counter.

A huge scramble in the Frome penalty area in the 53rd minute just denied Chippenham the opening goal, but at the other end, a lovely left wing move involving Davies, Fitzgibbon and George Miller almost carved out an opportunity, and every time Frome attacked down the left they were threatening to score.

After dogged defending had again denied Chippenham, Frome took the lead in the 71st minute as Fitzgibbon did really well on the right to go past his defender and pull the ball back along the six yard line. Rob Hobbs seemed to get the slightest touch on the ball, but it went through everyone and George Miller slid in at the far post to lift the ball over Kaupinnen and into the net.

Frome could have increased their lead in the 77th minute as Hobbs did well to force a corner and as it was swung in, Marcus Mapstone rose unchallenged but didn’t get quite enough on the ball and it cleared the far post by a few feet.

It is almost written in stone that players who used to play for Frome will score against them, and this very nearly came true in the 83rd minute with a move that involved all three ex-Robins on the pitch. Matt Smith won the ball and set Luke Ballinger free on the right, and as he found the dead ball line, he pulled a perfect cross back to the far post where the unmarked Ollie Taylor could only hold his head in his hands as he missed a sitter from five yards out.

As the final whistle approached, Chippenham had three corners in a row and even Kaupinnen went upfield for the last, but the Frome defence held firm and the priceless three points was  just reward for an outstanding effort and extends their unbeaten run to four games.

Frome’s captain Sam Teale  was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award by match sponsors  Mal Strawley and the Charles Family. Crowd: 27. Entertainment: 5/5.