CALOR LEAGUE SOUTHERN PREMIER DIVISION: Frome Town 3 Banbury United 2
8:34am Thursday 16th January 2014 in Sport
FROME Town won their first home league game since March of last year as they produced a superb performance to down Banbury.
After the poor home defeat by Bashley on Saturday, manager Adrian Foster had promised that searching questions would be asked - and new signing from Swindon, Mark Francis, going straight into the forward line while Kris Miller made his first start on his return to the club.
Frome went close in the fourth minute as a fine run on the left by Francis put Ricky Hulbert clean through on goal and only an instinctive reaction save from Kwame Forah denied him.
Ben Wood took the resulting corner and Jack Vallis found time and space almost on the goal line, chesting the ball down and volleying it into the top corner to give Frome the lead.
Another excellent Forah save denied Hulbert again in the 11th minute as he got his head to a Wood free kick and, after a period when Banbury came back into the game more, Frome were awarded a penalty as a deflected Miller shot spun wickedly up into the air, and as it came down, Forah dropped the ball and then fouled Hulbert from behind as he tried to retrieve it.
Wood took the penalty but Forah threw himself across the goal to save at mid height.
Banbury equalised in the 36th minute as Scott Bridges hammered home from the penalty spot after a soft-looking penalty had been awarded, after Forah produced three quality saves in a short space of time.
The first came as Vallis got a clean head to a Josh Ford free kick, headed the ball down and as it bounced up, Forah amazed everybody by getting a hand to it and just pushing it up over the bar.
As the corner swung in, Matt Smith caught it on the volley and was again denied by Forah as he threw himself to his left and recovered quickly enough to save a third time from Francis.
However, Frome did take the lead four minutes later as Vallis latched onto a free kick and played the ball sweetly to Francis who sealed a fine debut with a well-taken goal as he shot across Forah and into the far corner.
Banbury made it 2-2 a minute later as Ford attempted a back heel only for Bridges to run onto the ball and hit a low 30-yard screamer into the far corner for yet another excellent goal.
Wood almost made it 3-2 to Frome on the stroke of half time as his own free kick came back to him and he hit a dipping 30-yard volley just over the bar, but then two minutes after half time, he did put Frome into the lead as a superb run and low cross from Miller on the right wing allowed Wood to hammer home the sweetest of left foot volleys from 15 yards at the far post.
Frome always looked threatening when they broke, with Miller, Francis, Smith, Hulbert and Wood all combining well with pace.
Goalkeeper Darren Chitty was a little lucky in the 59th minute as he hit a clearance straight against the giant Banbury centre forward Leon Simpson, only for the ball to come straight back to him, and he pulled off a great save in the 80th to push the ball round the post for a corner.
Miller was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Man Award by representatives of Moore Stephens Accountants who had sponsored the match.
REACTION TO FROME'S WIN IN THIS WEEK'S WILTSHIRE TIMES, OUT ON FRIDAY