Frome Town bounced back from their recent struggles in the league with victory at Western League Bishop Sutton to reach the semi-final of the Somerset Premier Cup. The short trip to the Chew Valley was a chance to reset after what the manager called the lowest point of the season. The Robins managed to record their first win since 22nd November when they saw off Radstock Town in the previous round of the county knockout competition. Rather than a distraction, this fixture saw James Ollis regain his scoring form with a brace as the home side struggled to keep a competent Frome side in check.
There was an early moment of danger when Bishop Sutton broke free on the attack, Sam Teale going to ground and receiving a booking for a blistering tackle to prevent the danger, the first in a series of niggling challenges that typified the early exchanges of the match. The Bishops who play two tiers below Frome in the Western League Division One gave as good as they got and were eager in their efforts to frustrate the BA11 side and make their visit as irksome and frustrating as possible. The tackles flew in with force, often unpunished in the opening twenty minutes, but the Robins settled into the game, composed and collected as they unearthed the rhythm and urgency they have been missing of late. Handy sequences of passes saw the initiative swing their way, structuring their attacks down both flanks before springing the ball forward to the front line. Receiving the ball down the left, James Ollis’ flashed shot won Frome a corner just before the break. Rising above the defenders, the creator turned provider, as the club’s top-scorer put the visitors ahead with a resourceful header.
Prior to half-time, Bishops Sutton had matched the efforts of their Southern League counterparts, displaying their willingness to compete, but it was clear early onin the second half this was not to be the upset they craved. Just as the home side’s quality dropped off, Frome’s confidence in front of goal was renewed. Within minutes, an incisive ball forward allowed midfielder Tyson Pollard to lay the ball to Ollis who, in an instant, had steered his shot past the keeper and doubled the lead. Though a substitution on the hourmark denied the forward his hat-trick, replacements Luke Hopper and George Rigg joined forces effectively with a revived Owen Humphries to pester their hosts. For the duration, Frome peppered the Bishops’ goal with several efforts including Alex Monks’ clattering of the cross bar and the home side were starved of any meaningful possession.
Patient and unfussy throughout, the workmanlike nature of the win and the collective performance of the those who featured will soothe staff and supporters after a traumatic afternoon in . A special gesture made by the players, who have wanted to show their appreciation of our away support by offering to purchase the Exmouth attendee’s tickets this evening. Plaudits must go to all of the squad members for such a communal and understanding decision and the reward of a high-profile semi-final to be played in the spring was deserved. But before any cup excitement can build, attention turns to a lesser-spotted home match at Badgers Hill against Bishop’s Cleeve in what will be a Friday night to be savoured under the lights.
Match report and live updates by Zeb Baker-Smith