FROME Town probably deserved a share of the points in their Southern League Premier clash at home to Merthyr Town but sport is rarely fair and after taking the lead in the first half through a solo Jon Davies effort and being on top for long periods, they took their foot off the pedal and allowed Merthyr to strike back with two second half goals from the experienced Ian Traylor.

With top scorer Jake Jackson having departed for Chippenham Town over the Christmas break, Kris MIller suspended and Marcus Mapstone and Mitchell Page unavailable, Ben Griffiths and Ryan Bath started the match and Frome could only include one regular on the subs bench in the form of George Miller who is still recovering from a knock.

However, Frome were very pleased to include the returning Connor Roberts in the starting line-up after a protracted waiting period caused by the FA insisting that players previously under contract could not move clubs outside of the transfer window.

After the recent rain, the pitch was perfectly playable, though the going could best be described as 'heavy' and as the match kicked off in bright conditions with a stiff, cold wind blowing from the Club House end, Frome were the first to show as Darren Jefferies cut in from the left and pulled the ball back for Ryan Bath who appeared to be shoved in the back as he went for the ball but no whistle was blown for the challenge.

Davies brought the first save of the match from his namesake Oliver as he cut in from the right after good work from Hemmings and Bath, but a few minutes later, Roberts reminded the fans why he had won so many man of the match awards the previous season with a perfectly-timed sliding tackle to save the day as Merthyr found their feet for the first time.

Merthyr then moved into a period where they started to spend more time in the Frome half but without creating any chances and the hosts fashioned out a chance in the 29th minute as Ben Withey hit a left-wing cross that Jefferies set up for Davies to shoot but the shot cleared the bar by a long way.

However, Frome did take the lead in the 36th minute as Joe Raynes charged down a shot and fed the ball to Davies, who went on a run that started in his own half and saw him beat three challenges. Just as he approached the edge of the Merthyr area, the ball seemed to run away from him allowing Oliver Davies an easy challenge to clear but he somehow sliced the kick straight into Davies to net from 15 yards.

Frome then probably had the better of the match leading into half-time but couldn’t really carve out any more chances, and they carried on in the same way at the start of the second with Raynes bringing a good low save in the corner from Davies after a good flowing move had opened up the visitors' defence.

Frome had a huge chance to make it 2-0 in the 53rd minute as a poor clearance from the Merthyr keeper went straight to Ryan Bath who then set Jefferies free on the right and he unselfishly found a perfect pass to the unmarked Jon Davies the ball bobbled and his his shot cleared the crossbar.

Methyr equalised in the 65th minute after an innocuous ball out to the left was pulled immediately back inside and Traylor had an easy task to drive the ball into the net ,with Kyle Phillips having been dragged out of position.

At 1-1, Frome seemed to go a bit more on the defensive and lose some of their attacking impetus, allowing Merthyr to generally play more of the game in the Frome half and they started to look like the side more likely to score the next goal.

With Phillips bringing off a good save in the 76th minute, the home crowd started to get a little uncomfortable, and that feeling was was found to be accurate soon afterwards as Traylor chased a through ball with four Frome defenders all appealing strongly for offside and as he arrived at the ball just before Phillips, he lobbed the ball over the stranded Frome keeper into the net to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

The goal provoked Frome into life and they stepped up the tempo going for the equaliser, with a Davies shot going just past the post after Sam Teale had headed a free-kick back to him and the match effectively ended with straight red cards for Frome captain Sam Teale and Merthyr’s Craig Reddy as a wrestling match erupted in the Merthyr box as Reddy felt that Teale had gone to ground a little too easily after a challenge.

Joe Raynes was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award.