Frome will question their credentials for promotion after a defeat by four goals at home to Tavistock whose fine start to life in the Southern League continued. Liam Prynn and his four goals put the hosts to the sword in what became another torrid outing for the Frome backline in consecutive weekends.
Good news greeted the 400 or so Frome fans who had braved the wet in BA11 and made their way to Badgers Hill. The return to the starting line-up of the talismanic Jono Davies from a hamstring injury should have lifted spirits, but any promising signs evaporated swiftly when Liam Prynn’s ran between the centre backs and was brought down by Callum Evan’s clumsy challenge. The striker eased his penalty past Kyllips Phillips in goal to take the lead.
The Robins looked shellshocked, perhaps the trauma of Paulton Rover’s combative forward play last weekend still fresh on their minds, and there was very little evidence in the first thirty minutes that this was merely a blip. The Lambs preyed on Frome’s defensive naivety and individual errors, a miscued pass allowing Prynn to more or less walk into the box unimpeded and score his second.
Tavistock’s perfect start in this game must raise stern questions of the defence. The back four that started appeared, at their best, uncertain in attempts to link up with the midfield and, at worst, alarmed by the slightest bit of attacking pressure. Ben Starr’s introduction in place of Alex Monks on half an hour allowed Frome to revert to a more familiar defensive three and the hosts enjoyed their most threatening period before the break. Callum Evans’ swerving crosses supplied the attack with some much-needed ball, as Tavistock looked content to sit on their lead.
Those precious few minutes before half-time turned out to be the end of any signs of encouragement for the Robins. Danny Greaves will be understandably disappointed by a whimpering performance in the second half when Frome created little to no clear scoring opportunities. At the other end, Prynn’s dispossession of Kyle Phillips in the six-yard box for his hat-trick saw the afternoon go from bad to worse. The one-man show could only continue when the pacy striker latched on to a loose Frome throw-in during added time. The reality is that Frome have been leaky at the back, open and vulnerable to counter-attack and breaks since the season began. These weaknesses came home to roost on an afternoon where heart, desire and hunger to work hard and carry out instructions were all but absent.
Though Tavistock sit behind Frome, the visitors have continued on their impressive trajectory since promotion to the Southern League last season and are now placed just a point behind the third-placed Robins, but with three games in hand. A current record of 20 points in ten games cannot be sniffed at and, on current form, Tavvy will be there or thereabouts by springtime. In contrast and in light of the league’s taxing and unforgiving nature, Danny Greaves and his squad require honest discussions in front of the drawing board if the stated ambitions of returning to the Premier Division are to materialise. Second-placed Exmouth travel to BA11 next Saturday in what is looking like a crucial fixture. But this Frome side have a chance to put today’s performance to bed, when they visit Radstock in the Somerset Premier Cup on Tuesday evening.
Match report and live updates by Zeb Baker-Smith