Updated: Aug 28
Frome secured an impressive victory away at Yate Town on their return to league action. A goal on the stroke of half-time from Jon Davies gave the Robins the lead that a pleasing first-half display warranted. The second half was an onerous affair, plenty of attrition in defence required at times, but Danny Greaves’ side were rewarded for their labours and returned home with a deserved first win in the Southern League this season.
A trip away to Yate posed a tricky test. The Bluebells had been relegated from the Southern Premier last season and Lodge Road has proved a tough place to play for Frome squads of yore. The Gloucestershire side had, however, endured a winless start to the league season, but, nonetheless, had found some form, winning their tie against Holyport in the FA Cup last weekend.
The first forty-five minutes were controlled solely by Frome, whose pragmatic approach to defending and industry up front proved too much for Yate. Though the home side held out against several forays, the movement and pace of the attacking trident - Jono Davies (making his first start of the season after suspension), Ben Griffith and Kane Simpson, re-signed from Corsham just this week - was unmanageable. BA11’s newest recruit looked impressive, his hold-up play and quick feet bringing about a number of free-kicks from promising positions just outside the box. Notable chances included Alex Monks firing an attempt wide after Sam Teale’s arching cross found Davies in space down the right to pass. Simpson then went close to a perfect return in Frome colours, his low attempt finding the wrong side of the post.
Behind them, the centre-back trio of Teale, Matt Wood and a returning Pierce Mitchell, his first start since an injury in March, looked assured. Striker Kyle Tooze, a familiar name in this division, one which had caused nightmares for a couple of Frome defenders last season, was kept quiet and held at bay. Max Evans, the Robins’ stand-in keeper, was comfortable on the rare occasions he was called into action.
In injury time of the first half, Griffith slid a quick free-kick into the feet of Simpson whose square pass found Davies, at close quarters, unmarked and eager to place his finish past keeper Aaron Sainsbury. In terms of personnel, it was a combination reminiscent of the 21/22 season when the Robins made the play-offs. That understanding and familiarity between the players will keep the Robins in good stead in front of goal this season. If a criticism of this team in the two previous league games this season had been their lack of a clinical streak when on top and dominant, that was answered as the half-time whistle sounded.
Though not quite as fluent as the first half, energy levels were sustained, even if the objective was to retain rather than create a lead. Yate appeared to be more urgent on the ball, but panic among red shirts did not ensue. One can rely on Teale to put in captain’s performance after captain’s performance on a weekly basis, but the application of Wood and Mitchell cannot be underestimated. With Warren Maidment watching on from the sidelines serving a red-card ban and nearing his return, the strength-in-depth of this defensive unit is highly promising.
There were a few moments of panic among the congregation of Frome supporters at the ground, once when George Box’s shot inexplicably ricocheted off the inside of the left post before cannoning back out off the right to safety. Another nervous moment saw Yate’s substitute, Dan Dempsey, launch his shot just left of the goal. Replacement James Ollis struck the woodwork up the other end in the dying moments. Ultimately, the mature handling of set-pieces and concentration saw the Robins seal their first three points of the season ahead of Larkhall’s visit to Badgers Hill on Monday afternoon at 3pm.
Match report provided courtesy of Ryan Atkins and Zeb Baker-Smith
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