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FAC: Winchester 2-1 Frome (AET)

Winchester Scorers: Mitford (25), Cocklin (109)

Frome Scorers: K. Simpson (23) MOM: James Carey

Once again Frome Town have exited the FA Cup at an early stage despite a tie that was more than eventful. Having forced a replay last Saturday Frome travelled to Southern League division one pace setters Winchester City for the replay on Tuesday evening, confident that they would be able to produce the require result at the second time of asking.

A bright start

The first half of the game would have suggested there was only one likely winner with the Robins totally dominating play. There were a couple of corners, a Monks shot blocked and Dan Demkiv almost robbed the last defender in the first 5 or 6 minutes. Kris Scott’s fierce drive in the 10th was well saved and he went on a surging run from half way minutes later but was just unable to get the final pass through. Dan Demkiv beat the defender for pace and was hauled back with a yellow card being shown, with Marcus Mapstone heading the resulting free kick onto the crossbar, then took a slightly heavy touch to a delightful through ball from Kris Miller and the home goalkeeper beat him to the ball by inches.

1-0 to the robins

The first goal came in the 23rd minute as Miller again released Demkiv who supplied a perfect cross along the face of goal, Ryan Bath stepped over it for Kane Simpson to finish, coming in at the far post and it was no more than Frome deserved as they had been totally dominant.

A quick response However they were caught napping just 2 minutes later when a Winchester free kick from the left was headed back across goal for an easy tap in by Mitford in the hosts first meaningful attack of the half. Frome continued to press and had a series of further chances, a Simpson effort just wide from the corner of the area, free kick headed over the crossbar and a Teale shot blocked with appeals for handball waved away.

1st penalty miss Winchester were awarded a free kick half way inside the Frome half in the 32nd minute and as this was lofted into the penalty area a penalty was given for a foul just inside. The penalty wasn’t struck with any great force but Frome goalkeeper James Carey was on hand to make a good save low to his right. Winchester switched wingers, and tactics at this point and began to play everything through the impressive Simba Mlambo on the right hand side. As half time approached the game petered out due to tiredness and the final chance was a Bath effort cleared off the line.

Winchester came out looking a different side in the second half and went at Frome much more intensively from the kick off with Carey forced to make an excellent save within the first minute that looked destined for the top corner. Both teams seemed to have become more direct with less of the quality passing and interplay of the first 45 minutes and nerves were jangling with so much at stake. Winchester had another good opportunity in the 55th minute when the ball was pinballing around in the Frome area before eventually being cleared for a corner. A Simpson effort was easily palmed away in the 63rd before another Frome chance on 70 as a Kris Scott shot was blocked and Alex Monks following in shot over the bar. Chris Allen replaced Ollie Knowles in the 77th minute and the hosts had a great chance seconds later when the striker found himself on the penalty spot with only the ‘keeper to beat after a bizarre rebound and completely mis kicked making it easy for Carey.

2nd penalty miss From ‘s chance to win the game arrived in the 80th minute when, for the second time in the tie, they were awarded a penalty for a foul in the area. Chris Allen stepped up confidently to take it and struck the ball firmly, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way but hit the post and deflected away. There was little more action and so the game moved into extra time.

The first period began with Winchester again in the ascendancy, playing down the slope and TJ Davies who replaced Demkiv on 90 minutes trying to create something for the visitors. Simpson had a shot blocked, a Mapstone header went high whilst Ricky Scott blocked a Winchester shot , Kris Miller picked up a yellow card and right on the stroke of half time Mapstone won another header only to see it saved on the line. So with 15 minutes to go it was all still to play for with the looming threat of a penalty shoot out if nobody scored but there was more drama to come. Kris Scott tried a shot direct from kick off which failed to trouble the hosts them Monks had another effort blocked by the defender.

The final blow and floodlight fire! Winchester took the lead in the 109th minute with a free header on the 6 yard line from a corner, leaving Frome 11 minutes to get back into the game. They then hit the post a minute later and having survived that scare Frome piled forwards, winning a corner. As Scott was about to take the corner the floodlights on one side of the ground failed, followed soon afterwards by the other side leaving the pitch in total darkness. Could this be a blessing in disguise? The referee said there were 8 minutes left to play and he would allow 20 to get the lights back on. This duly happened except for the middle set of light which were literally on fire with smoke pouring from the top, and middle of the column. This didn’t seem to faze the officials although we wouldn’t certainly have stood near it so we played out the game with 2/3 of the lights working and despite constant pressure including the young goalkeeper coming up for a last minute corner Frome were unable to snatch a late equaliser.

No doubt Winchester are a good side but, once again it was a case of what might have been as Frome’s FA Cup dreams went up in smoke.

Frome Town man of the match was James Carey with an impressive display between the sticks, who is growing in confidence with every game.

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