EVO-STIK LEAGUE SOUTHERN PREMIER DIVISION: Frome Town 0 Stourbridge 1
UNDER slate grey skies and snow flurries, this match did little to warm the hands of the frozen crowd and an uneventful match was won by a single headed goal from Stourbridge’s Jamie Oliver, leaving Frome dangerously close to the relegation positions.
With Frome’s injury list growing by the day and both specialist left backs out of action, Josh Brigham moved from right to left back, Josh Ford partnered Dean Flockton in the centre and Dave Thompson moved to right back, with Darren Jefferies dropping into midfield.
Luke Ballinger moved from the right wing to the left wing and Dave Gilroy played as a lone striker.
Frome made the running in the first 20 minutes without ever really troubling the visitors' defence, with their best chance happening in the 21st minute as Matt Smith cut inside onto his left foot, but the shot lacked power and Dean Coleman made an easy save.
A minute later Stourbridge were denied an opener by Darren Chitty as a great save denied Paul Lloyd after a Ben Billingham shot had hit the far post, and then Smith was taken down on the edge of the Stourbridge area and Josh Brigham’s free kick was driven low through the Stourbridge wall only to miss the far post.
A tangle between Dean Flockton and a Stourbridge forward led to a melee that resulted in yellow cards for Mike Perrott and Stourbridge’s James McPike, but with no other incidents of note, half time saw the scorer untroubled.
Stourbridge looked a little more dangerous in the second half, played more in the Frome half and seemed a bit more pro-active, but they never really troubled the Frome defence and with neither side looking like scoring, the 0-0 draw seemed a safe bet.
Matt Smith seemed to be taken down in the visitors penalty area in the 59th minute as he turned in side his marker, but the referee saw it differently, gave a free kick to Stourbridge and booked the Frome midfielder for diving.
Stourbridge now entered a spell where they began to pressurise Frome and they were rewarded with a goal as Oliver seemed to rise unopposed and headed a right wing corner home in the 72nd minute.
Frome responded by taking off a defender and throwing Ricky Hulbert on as a second striker, and things got better as they started to believe in themselves a little more.
A Balllinger free kick led to a Perrott flicked header from close range that went straight into the visiting keeper’s body, but Stourbridge weathered the short-lived storm, started keeping possession the Frome half and denying the home side the ball.
Frome’s only other real chance came in the 91st minute as Ricky Hulbert hooked a shot just wide after a flicked header found him in space, but apart from a brief period in the second half, they never really looked like scoring.
A worrying home record now sees their last home league win way back on October 20th.
The H&B Tyres Man of the Match award was awarded to Josh Ford by Lloyd Chamberlain of the Blindman’s Brewery who had sponsored the match.
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