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Frome Town vs. Bristol Manor Farm: The Last Time We Were In A Play-Off Final...

Steve Jupp, BA11's Club Historian, rewinds to 2011 and a previous day-out bidding for promotion.


The Robins have appeared in just one previous play-off final and that was thirteen years ago in only

their second season as a Southern League club.


They were up against it, facing a side with a formidable home record, but this was a Darren Perrin

team and they defended heroically for much of the contest, particularly in the second half, putting in

a lung-busting performance to procure the prize of promotion.


Just two short years previously, Frome Town were a Western League Club but now, on a windy Bank

Holiday Monday, they were on the brink of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Weymouth, Oxford

City, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans City in the Southern League Premier Division.


Fans and players celebrate promotion at Sholing

Barring their way on this play-off final afternoon were Sholing who had gone toe-to-toe all season

with Totton for the Division One South & West league title and lost out by the narrow margin of just two points.


Zamaretto League Div One South &West Season 2010-11 - Top Five

P W D L F - A Pts

1. Totton 40 31 4 5 121 35 97

2. SHOLING 40 30 5 5 90 28 95

3. Mangotsfield 40 26 7 7 79 48 85

4. FROME 40 24 7 9 77 31 79

5. Thatcham 40 20 7 13 70 43 67


Sixteen points behind in fourth were Frome who travelled to Mangotsfield for their play-off semi-final and won famously 3-1 (another story for another day) while Sholing, having just home advantage to show for their huge 95 points total, saw off Thatcham 2-0 to set up a Bank Holiday showdown at Portsmouth Road.


It would be a meeting between the two meanest defences in the league on a ground where the

Boatmen had won NINETEEN league games out of TWENTY and where, in 2010-11, no visiting team

had kept a clean sheet.


One of those victories had come just a month previously, a Luke Ballinger penalty not enough for

the Robins as they went down 2-1, but, back in November at Badgers Hill, a solitary Toby Osman

strike secured a narrow 1-0 win.


Frome fans, who drank the clubhouse dry, made up roughly half of the crowd of some 650 and they

saw their side, playing in all blue, start strongly with the dual advantage of wind and slope.


They didn’t have long to wait for the party to really begin as Mark Cooper’s sixth minute free kick

was knocked into the box by Ricky Hulbert where Dean Evans struck a thunderous half volley into

the top corner to make it 1-0.


Sholing had keeper Mike Hookway to thank for saves from a long-range Matt Peters effort and an

Evans header as half time came with many wondering if a single goal advantage would be enough

for the anticipated onslaught the home side were about to unleash.


An onslaught it certainly was as The Robins had to defended heroically with Jamie Cheeseman and

Dean Flockton dominant in the air at the back and although The Boatmen had much possession, they were denied clear cut chances.


Nick Watts did find himself in the clear, but Darren Chitty came to the rescue with a fabulous save

and then on came the balls, coloured plastic ones, loads of them, filling Hookway’s goalmouth and as fast as they were cleared, more were lobbed on.


It was a tongue-in-cheek response to some previous comments made by the Sholing manager about an apparent slowness in throwing on spare balls at the earlier Badgers Hill encounter.


Did Frome, struggling on the back foot, benefit from this bizarre stoppage and did some hapless

child back in Somerset discover his or her ballpool bereft of the round things?


Threats of abandonment from the referee brought the situation to order but no let up from the

Southampton side who, despite the late dismissal of Ryan Ashford for a second yellow, utilized the

kitchen sink as close on eight minutes of stoppage time felt like an hour.


Goalmouth scrambles, desperate blocks and penalty appeals had Frome hearts in mouths as Chitty

again saved when a goal seemed certain, but the final whistle eventually sounded and another pitch

invasion, this time of bodies rather than balls, set the seal on a second promotion in two years.



FT - SHOLING 0 FROME TOWN 1

Evans 6'


Frome:- Darren Chitty, Josh Brigham, Mark Cooper, Dean Flockton, Jamie Cheeseman, Matt

Peters, Luke Ballinger, Dean Evans, Ricky Hulbert (Darren White), Mike Perrott, Ben Thomson.


Sholing:- Mike Hookway, Mike Carter, Marc Diaper (Barry Mason), Dave Marden, Lee Bright, Tyronne

Bowers (Ryan Ashford), Marvin McLean, Byron Mason, Kevin Gibbens, Lee Wort, Nick Watts.

 

Save yourself some time and purchase your ticket for tomorrow's play-off final by clicking on the link below!



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