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Bristol Manor Farm 1 - 2 Frome Town

Frome pulled off a late victory to beat Bristol Manor Farm as substitute Will Taylor managed to net an unlikely winner in injury time. On a piercingly cold evening, the Robins put a thoroughly uninspired performance behind them to complete a comeback after Ben Bament put the home side ahead and George Rigg volleyed in an equaliser in the first half. It was a denouement that, within the context of the season, felt as significant as it was necessary if the BA11 side are to keep pace with the division frontrunners and realise their aspirations for the end of season.

The Robins’ form had stuttered over the festive period but a welcome three points against Bemerton Heath Harlequins at home last Saturday had seen them get back on track and keep pace. The rescheduling of this fixture to a bitter Tuesday night made the visit to one of the division’s more arduous venues that much tougher and, on arrival at the ground, there was some fear that the game could be called off because of a floodlight issue. However, after a slight delay, the pylons on the far side were sufficiently repaired and the match was able to take place with Frome unchanged amid injuries, suspension and continued absences.

Frome struggled to find their rhythm from the off, Danny Greaves later commenting that his side struggled to adjust to the pitch conditions and citing a mentality issue in the first half. The home side certainly looked busier with the ball at their feet, many of their incursions going forward coming through the familiar face of Jamie Adams, the opposition skipper playing at right back, who had left BA11 last spring. Frome gave the ball away too many times and floundered as they competed for second balls, reverting to long balls up top.

The Robins’ discomfort going forward and in possession elicited confusion in defence when Manor Farm tried their luck, counter-attacking quickly and forcing a save from Kyle Phillips which striker Ben Bament tapped in and capped a woeful first thirty minutes for the visitors. The BA11 side received a reprieve when, from nowhere, George Rigg slapped in a thunderous volley from an innocuous cross in from the right, the only highlight in what had been a mediocre showing and a turgid affair by the time the half-time whistle blew.

Manor Farm had been solid throughout the season, their five-match unbeaten run coming to an end after Bideford’s late winner on the previous Saturday There had been very little between the sides in recent meetings, a memorable equaliser scored by Luke Hopper early last season on the last visit to the banks of the Avon, and no more needs to be said of that cruel play-off semi-final a couple of years ago.

The Robins needed that one chance, that one moment, but where was it going to come from? A draw could hardly have suited Frome as Ross Staley began the half by bending in a perilous effort on goal from a corner which was punched away and Frome looked livelier up front than they had done in the first-half. Regardless of the increase in ambition, Danny Greaves’ side appeared occasionally unconvincing at the back. A nasty two-footed lunge by Theo Llewellyn on Rigg saw tempers flare, but only a caution was shown by the referee. Though he played on, the Frome midfielder appeared to be incensed by the decision to book the assailant and was hooked off by his manager who aimed to introduce some impetus off his bench as the energetic Taylor entered the fray to set right visible lack of ideas with his positive approach.

The lump-it-up-and-hope-for-the-best strategy remained, however, as the senior players, Phillips, Teale and Maidment tried to rev their comrades into action, the former bailing his side out of trouble with a worthy save. Kane Simpson suffered an uncharacteristic lapse of concentration as he found himself in space at the back post, only getting his shot away after the defender had recovered. Sam Meakes’ appearance in his place with ten minutes to go injected urgency, but it was difficult to see from where the break would come. Cue Taylor who, as the clock struck red, struck directly from a corner. It was an instinctive and athletic effort, one for which he needed to stretch his right leg fully, wrap it around the ball and control his shot so that it stayed low enough. After such a dour ninety minutes, this stunning injury-time winner triggered a berserk outburst from Ben John in the Manor Farm goal who took umbrage at his conceding so late and provoked a fracas in the goalmouth, one deserving of the straight-red dismissal it received.

Such a conclusion lends itself to all sorts of the clichés and adages, those which talk up a team that can play poorly and still win. So often does this current flock of Robins step up for pivotal moments such as these, when circumstances and conditions seem not to favour them, It is, and will always be, refreshing to know that this side have not forgotten such a knack, grasping the nettle in one of their games-in-hand over the frontrunners in the division, particularly when Cribbs had to settle for a late equaliser at home to Bashley on the same evening. That the Robins stuck at it and secured the win will of course thrill fans and staff alike, but there will rightly be a need for a more pro-active Frome side to seize the early derby initiative against Paulton Rovers this Saturday at Badgers Hill.

Match report and live updates by Zeb Baker-Smith


Don't miss out on tickets to our derby fixture with Paulton Rovers this weekend at Badgers Hill!

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Well. as said. Cribbs have scored a couple of late goals in recent games to gain points , so last night it was our turn! It sounds , result aside, a thoroughly miserable watch / experience, but these scrappy games can often lose you points however, our plucky Robins have got there in the end.

Manor Farm have lost both their home games this week in the last minute! I hope they haven't got a cat in the changing rooms!

Will Taylor can't quite tie a regular place down in our midfield but has fizzed a couple shots just wide in his limited appearances , so we know he can shoot and what a time to get his first…

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