A FOURTH clean sheet in a row and a first-half goal from Ben Wood enabled Frome Town to take all three points, though a young, committed AFC Totton side could justifiably feel that they were good enough to have taken something from this match.
Apart from Tim Stephenson giving way to Rhys Baggridge, who was returning from suspension, Frome kept the same starting line up as they had employed so successfully for the previous four or five matches.
An even first half was a little slow to get going, with both sides attempting attacks but struggling to find the quality ball at the end of the move. A Matt Smith long range shot flew wide in the 21st minute and Darren Chitty was brought into action to save a snapshot from Zac Mouland a minute later.
Ricky Hulbert scissor-kicked a Wood throw over the bar shortly after and Jack Vallis caused problems with his height in the opponents’ box on a couple of occasions, but the first goal arrived in the 36th minute as Hulbert flicked the ball into space for Ben Wood to run onto.
A Totton defender seemed to have won the race to the ball, but he fell to the ground under challenge and Wood was presented with an open goal that he coolly slotted into the corner, with Totton appealing for a foul, but both referee and linesman adamant that none had been committed .
The second half saw Frome quickly out of the blocks and Ben Thomson did well on the right to pull the ball back to Kris Miller on the edge of the box, but he leant back as he shot and the ball flew high over the bar.
Miller set Hulbert free shortly after and as he cut inside and shot left footed, the ball took a deflection for a corner, then, as Totton broke, Mark Cooper missed an interception allowing Alex Moth a shooting chance, but again it was way off target.
Totton went close again in the 64th minute as Moth went round Chitty and shot, but the ball lacked pace and a defender was able to clear the ball with relative ease, and after Miller had burst into the box to force another corner for Frome, a Totton breakaways led to a fine Darren Chitty save followed by frenzied goal line defending and the block of the season from Mark Cooper as he stopped a pile driver with the side of his head.
As full time approached, Frome finished the stronger of the two sides, with Smith, Thomson and Miller all having shooting opportunities blocked, but Totton had a late opportunity with a free kick in the sixth minute of injury that Chitty plucked out of the air and the whistle blew immediately afterwards.
Jon Vance was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Man Award by match sponsors Sandstone Media, for a dogged midfield performance that saw him cover every blade of grass on the pitch, probably twice over.
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