Updated: Sep 16, 2022
Frome Town carried on their topsy-turvy start to the season as they were defeated away at Bashley in the FA Trophy. Outplayed all over the pitch, three goals in the opening fifteen minutes proved fatal to their cup hopes, as they fell to a third defeat in four games and were knocked out at the first time of asking.
Instead it will be Bashley who progress to the Second Round of Qualifying as the efforts of the hardy Frome fans who made the midweek trip down to the New Forest went unrewarded. From the second minute, the Robins’ vulnerability was on show as a long throw-in from the right was barely registered by the makeshift centre-back trio of Baker, Evans and Withey and the ball was bundled in. A miserable evening could only get worse, the second coming within ten minutes in almost identical fashion, Bashley’s right back hurling the ball into the mixer and the home side squeezed it past Kyle Phillips in the ensuing chaos.
This was a side of makeshifts cobbled together by Danny Greaves, his hand forced by a combination of injuries and absences. It is easy to forget that the hasty last-minute rescheduling of this FA Trophy round, which was meant to be played on Saturday afternoon, has a significant impact on the players who are available to feature. Enough has been said of the wisdom, or lack thereof, behind the FA’s decision to postpone the weekend’s programme, particularly at the level of the National League System and grassroots. Evidently, the late rearrangement had an effect on the Frome squad, on their preparation and even on the long journey down to the New Forest. However, these circumstances cannot be used as an excuse for what was a woeful performance and one that might raise serious questions about Frome’s season
Aside from a perfectly observed minute’s silence for the Queen and a moving rendition of the National Anthem, this was no night to celebrate, not least the third goal. Mike Baker calmly dispossessed the striker only to lose concentration. Watching the ball rolling gently into the box, Bashley’s winger was allowed to sprint and blast in. Frome’s focus was altogether missing throughout the first half and the team failed to regroup or gain a foothold in the game. There was a kind of formality to proceedings when the fourth was scored on the half-hour mark, Frome managing to clear a threatening corner, again from that ill-starred right side, only for the ball to cannon in from a Sam Jackson volley.
Worryingly enough, Bashley have only recently been promoted to the Southern League, returning this year, and a result like this can only harm Frome when the teams meet again later in the league season. The BA11 side could only compete for periods of the second half when the midfield found some joy in Laurent Davis-Wilson’s introduction, but even then it seemed that the game was won. A late penalty scored by striker Luke Hopper did not offer any real glimmer of hope. The addition of Schwalbe-Goodwin who looked comfortable and the presence of a handful of academy youngsters, many of whom made up the bench, does offer a little in the way of encouragement.
It has been a jumbled beginning to the 22-23 season for the Robins and the side are in desperate need of a bounce back on Saturday. Those involved with the club will hope that this wet and miserable evening can be a line in the sand after some demoralising results in recent weeks. Frome will need to confront those painful memories of April’s play-off semi-final and look sharp for the tricky test away to Bristol Manor Farm as the league season rolls on.
Match report and live updates by Zeb Baker-Smith
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