Updated: Oct 23, 2022
Frome Town saw out a 3-0 win over neighbours Westbury United on a raucous Friday night at the Robin’s Nest. James Ollis scored two goals either side of half time and George Rigg’s finish settled a memorable win under the floodlights. Westbury will be disappointed to return the seven miles home with a goalless defeat after goalkeeper Kyle Phillips turned in an heroic performance for the home side.
Badgers Hill was the setting for an intriguing tussle between the Somerset and Wiltshire outfits, a chance to clinch cross-county bragging rights. The rainy conditions did not appear to put off the queuing fans who grooved to live music in the clubhouse beforehand and soaked up the atmosphere on what had been hoped to be one of the biggest nights of Frome’s season.
Injuries and absences have wreaked havoc on Danny Greaves’ selection, but the return to the line-up of the experienced George Rigg and Mike Baker was a boost to the home side’s chances. Despite horrific conditions, gusty showers soaking all and sundry, the Frome front three of Ollis, Humphries and Davis-Wilson carried on where they left off in the spirited defeat to Sholing.
George Rigg’s ambitious effort at goal from a distant free kick was unconvincingly punched away by Lewis Porter in the Westbury goal, struggling to catch sight of the ball in the squall. The industry of Westbury was evident in defence, but it was not long before James Ollis’ shot ricocheted in off the keeper after Owen Humphries found the striker in the box unmarked.
Despite the lead, momentum was slipping away from the home side. Now was the time for Frome gloveman, Kyle Phillips, to demonstrate why he has been labelled the best keeper in the South West, diving sharply to his left after a mispass saw Harvey Flippance through on goal.
By the time the half-time whistle sounded, Frome had suffered some scares from Westbury who looked dangerous on the attack. The White Horse Men had pinched Frome's foothold on the game, and the visitors won a penalty minutes into the second half. After a long deliberation with his linesman the referee adjudged Jack Witcombe’s challenge on the edge of the box to have been a yellow card foul. In the ensuing muddle, former Frome favourite, Ricky Hulbert, now player-manager of Westbury, was sent off for dissent. The penalty proved a decisive moment. The ever-reliable Kyle Phillips, lunging to his left to meet Ryan Bole’s spotkick, preserved the lead, before he produced another superb save, palming away Charlie Walton’s shot beyond the post.
Frome’s defensive unit were on the ropes, dispossessed on a number of occasions, but the spurned chances appeared to deflate Westbury. Their confidence would be terminally sapped that much more when Ollis hooked the ball in from close range for his fourth in as many games. Amid flares, clapped hoardings, chants and singing, the 866 fans who had braved the elements were rewarded for their unwavering support when George Rigg, returned from a nasty ankle injury, swept in to make it 3-0. Westbury continued their attempts to breach the Frome defence, but luck was firmly with the home side as the game meandered to a close.
Though this was not the performance Danny Greaves might have hoped for, the Robins will be delighted by a victory. Frome saw out the derby, not with ease, but with maturity, showing their experience in this division, taking their chances and seeing out a clean sheet that will see them rise to third again before tomorrow’s fixtures. Huge plaudits must go to the BA11 brigade who braved the weather and lifted the home side during a tricky second half. Frome, however, will have their eye on a gruelling week ahead, with two visits to Cinderford and Paulton in the coming days.
Match report and live updates by Zeb Baker-Smith