Updated: Oct 6, 2022
Frome Town reached the second round of the Somerset Premier Cup with a thrilling victory over Western League side Wellington AFC. Given the short-lived campaigns in the national cups this season, Frome will be relieved by a jumpy 3-2 win, one that was clinched late on by Jack Witcombe’s composed finish. Not only does this victory ensure progress in the county’s knock-out competition, but it also maintains the momentum gained from the Robins’ recent run of positive results.
The fans who braved what was a nippy evening at Badgers Hill were barely seated before the opening goal within twenty-two seconds of the referee’s whistle to start proceedings. Rushing into the box, Owen Humphries met Witcombe’s cross and took advantage of a sluggish Wellington back line to slot the ball past the keeper.
The sparky wing-back posed a constant danger down the left in the first half. Frome penned in the Wellington defence in the opening half, who did regroup after the early goal. Members of the squad such as Alex Hallett and Laurent Davis-Wilson looked lively on their return to the line-up. Waves of pressure allowed the wingbacks to shuttle back and forth down the flanks and bend threatening deliveries into the box, but Wellington appeared content to endure and resist.
The second half began in much the same way, until George Rigg’s innocuous tackle in the box was deemed to be a foul. Mac Boyd, a young keeper on loan from Bristol City and on his debut for Frome, dived the right way, but the spot-kick was too well-placed and the visitors had their equaliser. Minutes later, another Frome cross to the back post found Humphries, who directed his header straight at the flailing keeper before Jamie Adams appeared to poke home the rebound. The cup-tie drama did not stop there. In the chaos of a substitution, the visitors capitalised on the Robin’s defensive confusion and equalise to make it two apiece.
Jack Witcombe’s homecoming to BA11 over the weekend was heralded by the Frome fans, who will no doubt be celebrating his scoring return to the starting line-up. George Rigg went close, his free-kick fended away by the Wellington keeper In view of the clubhouse, prodigal son Witcombe, scavenging at close quarters, placed the ball into the net. The euphoria of his teammates and the supporters was almost dampened late on when a bouncing ball had to be met by George Rigg’s headed clearance off the goal-line, the last action in a pleasing Frome victory.
Seeing out and prevailing in nose-to-nose contests such as this one will be a valuable experience for Danny Greaves’ squad, and this will be a win from which the Frome side can draw lessons as the season unfolds. Despite lapses of concentration in the second half, two consecutive wins at home to start off a month in which the Robins are scheduled to play eight matches is encouraging as the league season gather momentum. A Saturday trip to Bishop’s Cleeve in Gloucestershire features next on the fixture list as fifth-place Frome look to keep pace with the contenders in the Southern League.
Match report and live updates by Zeb Baker-Smith