Match Report - Frome Town v Salisbury FC
Frome Town 0 Salisbury FC 0
Evo-stik South Premier South
Monday, 22 April 2019
By Alec Hayter
It was easy to see why Frome have been relegated, although they could have won this game had it not been for Jake Hallett. Conversely, it was difficult to see why Salisbury are in the play-offs, although they should have won this game too had it not been for the home keeper! The Salisbury seesaw swings again between bad performance to good, then bad, and, judging by yesterday's level at Badgers Hill, we are due a very good one on Saturday. I'll be happy with that, but even happier if the on-off form sequence finishes after that game.
There was lots of “huff and puff" whilst at the same time little urgency or intensity in what was overall a flat performance. Admittedly, the pitch could never be likened to that performance description, and it was a warm day, but neither factor could be held wholly responsible for the reduction of a potential three points to one.
It was Frome who first showed on 10 minutes, if that's how you can describe a shot from distance that went well wide, before Hallett saved early embarrassment on 22 minutes when blocking Rick Davies in a one-on-one. That scare temporarily goaded the lethargic Whites into action, of sorts, for the remainder of the half, and that was when they should have secured the points. Home keeper Rob Brown came off his line to deny Claudio Herbert, and then had to thank his fellow defenders for getting in the way of Dan Fitchett, and Herbert again, after Jack Sparkes' corner caused box chaos.
On 27 minutes Lewis Benson clipped a delightful diagonal ball forward which produced a glancing header from Sparkes, but also a good save from Brown, but Salisbury's best chance by far came on 31 minutes direct from a Benson corner which found Matt Partridge at the far post. The surface could not have had any effect on a tame volley over from 8 yards.
Brown came to Frome's rescue on 39 minutes with a good stop low to his right from Sparkes' freekick, and the first half ended with Darren Mullings heading past the far post from a Sparkes corner. So the first half drew to an end with the Whites having missed some presentable chances, and with hardly any threat from the home side.
Would the half-time talk have any beneficial effect? Answer – no, not really, as in the second period Salisbury could only manage two attempts on goal, and to describe Dan Fitchett's volley on 59 minutes as such would be optimistic, as he ballooned the ball over the bar from the edge of the box. Before that, however, Hallett had to rescue his side once more, this time having been one-on-one with Josh Morgan Williams.
Another Josh, our own defender, who amongst few others in Herbert, Wheeler, and Hallett who emerged with any credit, then got forward and forced a defender to concede a corner in a last-ditch tackle.
Claudio and Josh do themselves justice. - ©Michael Berkeley
On 89 minutes the Robins nearly prospered from a free kick, with Davies fully demonstrating their season's woes in wasting a good chance high over the top, but in the first minute of added time, the Whites nearly snatched it when Danny Young, who had been a benched spectator for all but a minute of normal time, got to the byeline and squared where Mullings was just beaten to the ball by defender. It was probably not fair to expect any more of Young in the short time afforded to him.
Obviously, the home side wanted to treat their fans in their last home game in this league, but in the seventh minute of time added Davies again only reminded them of their shortcomings, skying another effort from a good position.
Next Saturday, the Whites will have the chance to show their fans that they are much better than that on a Ray Mac pitch, although not perfect, therefore preventing what was a partly plausible reason for today's performance being used again. Maybe the availability of those shown below will help. They were busy producing banana skins before the match which appeared during it. They didn't start today, and neither did many of those on the pitch.
Some of the off-pitch banana skins - hopefully, the contents will speed recoveries. - ©Michael Berkeley
Next Saturday, as long as we match the Metropolitan Police result and therefore maintain our superior goal difference (currently better by 7), we can look forward to a home play-off with them on Wednesday 1st May. It's unlikely that will be a problem, but not impossible given the Whites' mood swings, and especially as our opponents Harrow Borough limbered up with nine goals today.
We do seem to like to keep things exciting, but not always in a good way.
Frome Town: Brown, Dawley, O'Loughlin, Withey, Mehew, Roberts, Allen (Low 78), Knowles, Davies, Morgan-Williams (Towler 55), Mannings.
Subs not used: Crabtree, Crossman, Seviour.
Salisbury FC: Hallett, Herbert, Sommerton, Whelan, Partridge, Wheeler, Benson, Mullings, Fitchett, Downing, Sparkes (Young 89).
Subs not used: Dawson, Burden, Evans.
Attendance: 467 (one short of double Frome's season average).
Referee: S Rothwell (Plymouth) – which would explain the late bank holiday start!