AN EARLY goal from Joe Raynes and a second-half header from Marcus Mapstone saw 10-man Frome Town earn an excellent 2-1 victory at Stratford Town.

Frome welcomed back Ollie Knowles back into the squad after a couple of years with Truro City and more recently with Tiverton, but the starting line up was the same as last week apart from the return to the side of influential playmaker Jon Davies.

After a string of impressive performances, Ben Griffiths retained his place at right back instead of Kris Miller who was on the bench.

After early pressure from Stratford, Frome took the lead as a break from defence led to Raynes going past one defender, before rounding another and the goalkeeper to tap the ball into the empty net.

Despite the hosts going close shortly afterwards as a shot from Stephens stung the palms of Kyle Phillips, Frome were looking good in what was an attractive game to watch.

Stratford went very close in the the 12th minute with Phillips saving a point blank shot from Mike Taylor as he was allowed to turn and shoot from close range, but then Griffiths went close for Frome as he blazed a shot just wide from the edge of the area.

Chances became few and far between as most of the first half saw the sides cancelling each other out in midfield, though a 25-yard dipping volley from James Hancocks just cleared the crossbar as the hosts went in search of an equaliser.

At the start of the second half, a run and shot from Darren Jefferies led to the ball thumping against the base of the post before Stratford’s Charlie Evans looped a shot just over the Frome bar.

Joe Raynes hit the Stratford crossbar from 20 yards and Mike Taylor headed a Will Grocott cross just wide.

However, Frome’s task became much harder in the 58th minute as a simmering match-long feud flared up briefly with the result being another straight red card for Frome’s centre forward Mitchell Page.

Despite the lack of numbers, Frome extended their lead in the 66th minute as Davies picked himself up after a heavy foul that resulted in a yellow card for Stratford’s James Fry, and produced a perfectly flighted free kick onto the head of Mapstone who scored with ease.

Stratford were kept to half-chances with Stephens heading an Evans cross wide, Loyisi Recci blazing over from 30 yards and Frome sub Ryan Bath hitting the home crossbar in the 89th minute.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time Stephens bundled home from close range after a Phillips punch had been worked back in to the box.