Frome Town Women made it 3 wins in a row after a derby day win over Paulton Rovers on a chilly, windy and wet day at Badger’s Hill.
In the first of four Sundays in a row at home and in front of another strong crowd, Frome Town Women put in another strong performance and ultimately, never looked like slipping up against a physical Paulton side, even after a freezing downpour toward the end of the first half.
Frome came out strongly from the kick-off, forcing the play to Paulton’s end where Harris and Thorner-Atkinson looked to create space for some early chances. It was Harris who had the first clear-cut chance on 5 minutes when one on one with the keeper only for her rapid shot to be smartly saved.
Paulton looked to use their pace on the wings to try and get in behind Frome but the outstanding Ratcliffe (today’s player of the match), Edwards and Perkins looked strong in defence, intercepting balls over the backline as well as tracking runners and through balls; and using Restorick smartly to retain possession and play the ball forward. It was another calm and accomplished performance from Frome’s back-line and goalkeeper that has now only conceded one goal in three matches. Part of the reason why Frome has the strongest goal difference in their league.
In a feisty and pulsating encounter on a wet pitch, Hill had to be taken off for Wyatt on fifteen minutes, after suffering a high kick to the face. Fortunately, there was no serious injury to Frome’s number 15.
Frome have been making a regular habit of scoring early in recent matches and kept the pattern going today as well as they found the next in the 16th minute. Harris smartly moved left to right, to draw Paulton’s defenders on the edge of the box before laying the ball off for Thorner-Atkinson to thunder the ball home from outside the area. 1-0 to Frome.
Moments later, Frome almost added a second when Minty fired in a surging corner which fell to the head of Thorner-Atkinson who’s glancing header fell just over the bar. As the icy rain started to pick up and furiously pelt the players, Paulton looked to get back in the game as they pushed forward, ahead of Frome’s midfield, creating space around the Frome box to enable a couple of shots on goal in the 28th minute only for Restorick to save comfortably.
In the midfield, the game was tight with conditions making it difficult to get the ball down and play. Underhill, Bristow, Starr and later Regler, showed massive energy though to control the game where they could, feeding the ball forward. And it was not long before Harris has a chance from range which rattled the crossbar, with Paulton’s keeper unable to reach the ball. Bristow also had an attempt from range, just on the stroke of half-time which went straight at goalkeeper leaving the score 1-0 to Frome.
As the teams came out for the second half, the grey wet sky gave way to blue and the low winter sun cast long shadows onto the pitch. The first ten minutes of the second half were very quiet other than Paulton trying from range and shooting just wide of the post. At the other end, Wyatt had an attempt from a tight angle which also went wide of the post.
On 64 minutes Hill was able to return to the action and immediately got involved, forcing a good save from the Paulton keeper. Paulton tried, in vain, to make some headway upfield but were unable to create clear cut chances, with Frome’s back line still looking in control.
It was the home side who were creating clearer chances and on 71 minutes Thorner-Atkinson had a smart shot from inside the box which the Paulton goalkeeper quickly parried into the path of Hill, who was first to react and fired the ball into the net to make it 2- 0. With the second goal going in, Frome continued to look comfortable as Paulton tried to gain a goal back, with one shot glancing off the post before Restorick gathered.
The energetic Peet, on for Harris, and Thorner-Atkinson both went close in the final quarter for Frome with shots agonisingly wide of the Paulton post. On 77min, Frome made several multiple changes, bringing Restorick off as a precaution which meant Underhill went in goal, while Starr returned to the action, on for Ratcliffe. Edwards was also forced to take a break with a bloody nose but was able to re-join the action while Minty was rested and Whisstock, and Petteford both made assured contributions to the last fifth of the match, showing again the depth of Frome’s squad.
As the game wound down, Thorner-Atkinson and Regler both had half late chances to extend the lead but the game finished 2-0. With AEK Boco and Pucklechurch both playing in cup matches today, the win puts Frome on top of the table for the week ahead, as they now prepare to face Middlezoy Rovers Ladies in the County Cup last sixteen, next Sunday.
Massive thank you to Ryan Atkins for his help with the match report. Happy Birthday Ryan!