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Bishop's Cleeve 1 - 5 Frome Town: FA Trophy

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

Frome Town put in an astonishing second-half performance to overturn a half-time deficit and win away at Bishop’s Cleeve in the FA Trophy. After a poor defensive showing in the opening forty-five minutes, the Robins could consider themselves fortunate to be just a goal down, the side indebted to Kyle Phillip’s excellent individual display between the posts. A brace from striker Kane Simpson put Frome ahead and a goal each for Zak Drew, James Ollis and Jono Davies provided further evidence of the scope of this squad's talent and ensured a spot in the First Round proper of the non-league cup competition.

Having been outmuscled in their 2-1 loss away at Ramsgate in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round, Frome came into this fixture looking to go a round better. Eight wins in nine games before last week’s defeat against some high-quality opposition across a packed September was precious form and the squad were keen to maintain the winning trend before the rhythm of the league season started in earnest. A well-rested Kane Simpson was included up front alongside energetic midfielder Will Taylor and skipper Sam Teale slotted in at centre-back in place of the suspended Pierce Mitchell.

The rejig in personnel, with Reece Rusher brought back to a more conservative wing-back role, seemed to hamper Frome. Though the Robins enjoyed possession and most of the opening exchanges were played out in their hosts’ half, passes were mishit and Bishop’s Cleeve were given ample opportunity to scurry in and disrupt the forwards, who began to show visible signs of frustration. At the other end, Kyle Phillips produced smart stops, denying Jay Malshankskyj (tormentor of the Robins’ backline last Boxing Day in the yellow strip of Melksham) and his fellow forwards Langworthy and Dunbar. The keeper parried their efforts away from danger and blocked cleverly with his legs.

What had begun as occasional lapses of focus soon turned into a tangible lack of composure as the minutes flew by and, when Malshankskyj directed a low shot past Phillips, the home side leading by a goal at half-time seemed the least that they deserved. Bishop’s Cleeve had dispatched Paulton Rovers and pipped Bristol Manor Farm in the FA Trophy as well as making a steady start in the league this season. The Mitres had made an impressive start to life in the Southern League after promotion from the Hellenic Premier. A ninth-place finish, two points behind the Robins, had been secured in their maiden season at this level. Frome had struggled to deal with their hassling and counter-attack and, as the BA11 players emerged from the dressing room, long after the staff had made their exit, there was work to do if they were to reverse the scoreline.

Kane Simpson has had a stop-start beginning to his return for Frome, cup-tied and available for just a single fixture in the month of September. His inclusion in the starting line-up was repaid when he levelled for Frome, cleaning up scraps in the box just minutes into the second half. His rangy figure then met Davies’ cross with an emphatic scissored volley, one that delivered a second goal for his side after just ten minutes of play resuming. A lead that the Mitres had worked hard to secure was abruptly decimated after a breathless restart. Zak Drew profited from Jono Davies run past two defenders and the referee playing advantage, the wing-back marking his clever entry into the box with a goal as he beat the keeper from an angle on the hour-mark.

Shell-shock best describes not only the reaction of the Bishop’s Cleeve side who were inexplicably two goals down, but the BA11 staff and support in attendance, for whom the turnaround was barely credible. A corner to the visitors was cleared but only into Will Taylor’s path. The midfielder found James Ollis on the edge of the box, who turned, strode and unleashed his shot to record his twelfth of the season. As the sun beat down on the 3G surface, Frome pushed for a fifth, Davies ambling in to meet Maidment’s pass. The playmaker’s form has brought about more than just goals this term and there was something inevitable about his low shot from the edge of the area landing in the bottom-right corner.

Whatever had been said in the dressing room, whichever attacking stratagem had been repeated, it had worked. The strength and depth of this squad is such that, even with several players unavailable, the extraordinary and the inexplicable - five goals in one half! - can be rationalised and explained. With two league games in quick succession this week, a Somerset derby at Paulton and a visit from high-flying Mousehole, there is no time to rest on laurels. Knuckling down and taking responsibility for failings at the back, first and foremost, seeing to it that Kyle Phillips does not have to endure another such busy ninety minutes again - these are the immediate measures that must be taken so that the happy observance of Monday cup draws and the hopeful weekly ritual of inspecting the league table can continue.

Match report and live updates by Ryan Atkins and Zeb Baker-Smith.


Tickets for our upcoming home fixture and the Frome Town CBS Fundraiser are available to buy at the links below:

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Gerry Urch
Gerry Urch
Oct 07, 2023

What a fantastic result and superb second half performance. So, into the hat we go on Monday. By my reckoning that's a minimum of £16,000 we'll earn from our cup runs thus far. More if we win our next match. I'm assuming that the next round is 'regionalised.'

If so, then we could draw: Cribbs, Larkhall, Totten, Poole, Gosport , Merthyr, Basingstoke or Swindon Submarine.

Gosport and Merthyr are first and second in the Southern Premier League. Totten beat Plymouth Parkway 2-1 today. A home draw would be great against any of those.


Replying to

We just keep getting

stronger .confidence must be pretty high. Looking for

Ward to next games league or cup. Nobody .Will want to play us and will be warey. J.urch

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