Date: 18th August 2018
Frome Scorers: Morris (12) Hendon Scorers: Ciardini (85), Smart (90+5) Attendence: 221
This was Frome’s first ever visit to newly promoted Hartley Wintney and with Hartney winning their first 2 games against highly fancied Poole & Gosport, Frome expected a tough test. In the end that's exactly how it turned out with a second successive defeat away from home although, once again, Frome will consider themselves somewhat unfortunate not to have taken something from the game. Ryan Bath came into the side up front in place of Kane Simpson, whilst Will Hailston replaced Dan Demkiv in a wide role as the changes from the Tiverton game the previous Tuesday.
Morris opens his account
There's no disputing Frome were the better side in the first half and they took a deserved lead in the 12th minute when some Hailston trickery around the edge of the area released Morris to score. Hartley Wintney looked threatening on the counter, with former Frome player Claudio Herbert particularly lively but the visitors defence held firm and neither goalkeeper was really threatened as both sides struggled to create a clear opportunity. Around the half hour mark a great cross field ball from Knowles found Hailston in space but he was unable to shake off the last defender an shortly afterwards the home striker broke quickly but Conor McCormack was alert to the danger with a saving tackle. Hartley Wintney had a loud appeal for a penalty for handball turned down on the stroke of half time.
Danny between the sticks
The hosts started strongly in the second half and enjoyed by far the most possession, again without creating any clear chances. Simpson replaced Bath and Demkiv came on for Cottle and whilst Frome were playing nice football in spells they didn’t create many clear cut chances, nor did their goal come under any real pressure. The game changed in the 83rd when Darren Bechet had to leave the field injured, replaced by manager Danny Greaves in goal.
Penalty save and last minute defeat
A speculative long ball in the 85th minute saw Ciardini beat the centre backs for pace and go 1v1 against the keeper to level the score giving Greaves no chance. With the scores level the referee indicated 7 minutes of injury time and In the 92nd a penalty was harshly awarded for the hosts for a push in the area. Against the odds Greaves got down smartly to save and you felt a point each was on the cards and probably just about right on the balance of play. However in the 95th minute a Hartley corner was headed up into the air only for the ball to be volleyed home as it dropped by Nathan Smart giving the hosts the 3 points.
Both teams deserve credit for trying to win the game right until the end but Frome will be wanting to get their first league victory of the season sooner rather than later. There’s no disputing the quality and style of football is very pleasing to the eye and just that little bit of luck is needed at times – as they always say it’s a funny old game.
Conor McCormack was awarded the Frome Town man of the match for a combative performance in the centre of defence.