Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Frome and Cinderford made light work of testing weather conditions as they played out a seven-goal thriller at Badgers Hill on Saturday afternoon.
Strong winds and a heavy pitch could do little to prevent Jon Davies scoring a hat-trick, but the most spectacular goal of the afternoon belonged to Matt Smith as he scored directly from a corner in the first half.
Despite the weather provided by Storm Eunice showing few signs of dying down throughout the 90 minutes, the Robins took little time to get into their stride and found themselves ahead after just five minutes.
Rex Mannings floated a perfectly weighted ball into the Cinderford penalty area, meaning Davies could hardly miss as he connected with the cross five yards from goal.
Cinderford had opportunities to equalise in a chaotic opening period, with striker Harry Warwick coming closest when he forced James Carey into a sprawling save with a shot from the edge of the box.
Despite that brief scare, the Robins were not satisfied to sit on their early lead. Wing-backs Mannings and Joe O’Loughlin were causing constant problems for the visitors down the flanks, and it was when an O’Loughlin cross was deflected behind for a corner that an opportunity to double the advantage presented itself.
As a collection of players jostled for position in a packed Cinderford six-yard box, corner taker Smith decided to ignore them all entirely and whip a delicious delivery over everyone and into the far corner of the net.
Wind-assisted or not, Smith’s spectacular goal was just-reward for a strong first half performance, and it helped to settle any nerves as the interval approached.
O’Loughlin had an opportunity to extend the lead further before the break after a delightful one-two with Davies set him free in the penalty area, but his shot could not quite find the bottom corner of Nicholas Jones’ net.
If the first half had been entertaining, the second was nothing short of breath-taking as five goals were shared between the two sides.
Davies stretched the lead in the 50th minute when he smashed home a cut-back from O’Loughlin, and he ensured he would be taking home the match ball as he kept his composure in the penalty area to stab home his third just four minutes later.
Despite the deficit, Cinderford had been far from poor for much of the afternoon, and they pulled a goal back before the hour mark when Will Morford flicked home a header from a free-kick.
The game became increasingly scrappy as the final stages approached, with the Badgers Hill pitch beginning to show the effects of the recent bad weather, and a long-range goal from Cinderford substitute Dylan Jones in the 77th minute threatened to make it a nervy ending.
However, it was the Robins who finished the scoring as substitute Archie Thayer found himself in the perfect position to tap home in the final minute of normal time after Kane Simpson had seen his shot saved.
The win means that Frome have kept the pressure on league leaders Cirencester at the top of the Southern League Division One South table, with only two points separating the sides.
The Robins are back in action next Saturday as they make the trip Barnstaple Town for more league action.