Updated: Dec 28, 2021
Frome came from behind to share the spoils with local rivals Melksham Town at Badgers Hill this afternoon in front of a bumper festive crowd of 1,103 people.
Despite being two goals down early in the second half, and trailing once more in the dying minutes of the game, the Robins snatched a draw thanks to Alex Hallett’s goal in injury-time, preserving their unbeaten home record in the process.
The highlight of an end-to-end start was a magnificent save from Melksham goalkeeper Matt Hall, as he stretched to his right to palm away a Kane Simpson effort that was curling into the top corner.
The visitors then missed the chance of the game up to that point as Sam Hendy played a one-two with Kyle Tooze before dancing into the Robins’ box and blasting a shot wide of the target.
Melksham did not have to wait much longer for a breakthrough though. A well-constructed team move saw the ball pulled back for captain Aiden Chainey and he calmly placed his shot beyond James Carey and into the net.
Frome very nearly replied instantly but Jon Davies could only drag his effort wide after being well picked out by Simpson, and Chris Peck was denied a close-range goal from a corner by a well-positioned Melksham defender on the goal-line.
It was the visitors who came closest to troubling the scoresheet again before the half-time whistle, with Tooze looping the ball just wide as he tried to catch Carey off his line.
The game truly came to life in the second period, and despite some intense early pressure from the Robins, it was the visitors who struck next.
With Frome temporarily down to 10 men after Marcus Mapstone was forced off through injury, Hendy rose at the far post to guide a header beyond Carey.
The Robins were back in the game five minutes later though, as Mannings picked out Davies on the edge of the box before the forward worked himself an inch of space and blasted home.
Momentum was firmly with the home side following Davies’ goal, and after he saw two close-range free-kicks blocked and skipper Sam Teale placed an effort just over the crossbar, they did draw themselves level.
A flowing team move saw Simpson shrug off a pair of would-be tacklers, allowing Davies time and space to pick out Mannings on the far side of the box and he made no mistake when well positioned.
A sense of euphoria engulfed the bumper crowd at Badgers Hill with Frome looking the more likely side to go on and claim the three points.
However, it was the away side who thought they had found the decisive goal when Tooze broke the offside trap and slotted home expertly as Carey came out to close down the angle.
The Robins huffed and puffed in the remaining 15 minutes, coming inches away from equalising again when substitute James Ollis struck the post after connecting with a Davies cross.
All hope looked lost as Melksham stood firm heading into the dying seconds of injury-time. But when they failed to fully clear a long ball into their box, Mannings was on hand to cross for Hallett to squeeze a shot into the bottom corner and send the home supporters wild.
Frome are back in action on New Year’s Day as they travel to local rivals Paulton Rovers.