ZAMARETTO LEAGUE DIVISION ONE WEST PLAY-OFF FINAL: Frome are up
Frome Town have been promoted to the Zamaretto League Premier Division after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sholing in the Division One South & West play-off final earlier today.
Darren Perrin’s side put in a herculean defensive display to hang on to Dean Evans’ first-half goal for over 85 minutes, sealing a historic victory for the Badgers Hill club and promotion to the Premier Division after only their second season in the Southern League.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said the Frome manager.
“I’ve got a special bunch of players and we’re going to have one hell of a party tonight, I tell you.”
Frome took the lead just six minutes in, when Mark Cooper’s free-kick was knocked on into the box by Ricky Hulbert.
Midfielder Evans met the ball and unleashed a powerful volley that was too hot to handle for Sholing keeper Mike Hookway as it flew into the top corner.
In the 17th minute, Matt Peters had a spectacular long-range effort palmed wide by Hookway before, midway through the half, Evans had a point-blank header acrobatically tipped around the post by the home goalie after Josh Brigham’s long-throw.
Strong winds were having a major effect on the flight of the ball and in the second-half, the Frome defence had to be at their best to deal with countless long passes pumped into the area.
In the 57th minute, a clearance from the Sholing area flew the length of the pitch and into the path of winger Nick Watts, who outpaced his markers but saw his finish deflected just wide of the post.
Soon afterwards, Lee Wort had a shot on the turn which wasn’t far over the bar before defender Lee Bright headed over from Marc Diaper’s corner.
With the wind against them, Frome were under constant pressure and were barely able to launch an attack but their defence remained strong with skipper Jamie Cheeseman leading by example as he regularly got up to head away from the area.
Frustration began to get the better of the home side and they were down to ten men late on when substitute Ryan Ashford bizarrely received two yellow cards just a minute apart; both times for dissent.
The Robins were left to endure a tense finale as the referee played almost nine minutes of added time following a stoppage to the game earlier in the half when Frome supporters launched a barrage of small plastic balls onto the pitch.
Sholing came within inches of sending the tie into extra-time in the 94th minute when Dave Marden’s loft into the area was twice headed towards goal but keeper Darren Chitty managed to palm the ball narrowly wide of the post.
Frome hung on to cap a momentous day for their delirious supporters.
FROME TOWN: Darren Chitty, Josh Brigham, Mark Cooper, Dean Flockton, Jamie Cheeseman, Matt Peters, Luke Ballinger, Dean Evans, Ricky Hulbert (Darren White 82), Mike Perrott, Ben Thomson.
Subs not used: Tom Pass, Ryan Bennett, Ben Osman, Simeon Allison.