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Hitchin Town 1-1 Frome Town – Southern Premier League, Sat 29th Nov.

After an even first half, an excellent second half performance from Frome Town saw them take the lead through Ben Thomson, only for Hitchin to equalise from a corner in the third minute of injury time.

Frome’s squad saw Matt Cowler keep his place at centre half after a man of the match performance at Wellington during the week and it was good to see Ben Thomson fully returned from injury and starting alongside Lewis Haldane in a partnership that promises great things for the future.

The first chance arrived very early on as Frome’s Ben Thomson got his head to a Matt Smith free kick that required a save from Charlie Horlock that tipped the ball onto the post, and after a long range shot from Smith was deflected for a corner in the 10th, Frome technically had the ball in the net as Jack Vallis nudged Horlock and the ball  over the line following a free kick, but the inevitable whistle blew and a free kick was given.

Hitchin’s first effort arrived in the 13th as Nat Peacock capitalised on a slip by Cowler to let fly from 20 yards, and as the match settled into a rhythm, Hitchin were probably shading possession, but Frome looked very sharp on the break.

Hitchin wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 35th as a long throw into the box missed everybody but Johnny MacNamara seemed shocked as the ball arrived at him and he blazed the ball high over the bar from ten yards out. As the match moved towards the interval, Frome started to look more and more dangerous and Haldane did well to control the ball and feed it into the path of the onrushing Miller who struck the ball superbly, bringing an excellent save from Horlock, and Horlock was again on hand to deny Haldane with a flying save after the Frome striker had been set up a superb Rodriguez run.

The first minute of the second half saw Thomson again hit the post as he threw himself at a Rodriguez corner with his diving header deserving a better outcome, and after Haldane had hit a mis-timed shot into the arms of Horlock, Frome had a huge penalty appeal for handball turned down by the referee following a Rodriguez free kick. As Frome’s domination of the second half continued, a goal became imperative and it duly arrived in the 72nd as Haldane played a perfect ball into the path of Thomson whose trademark power and pace took him clear of a defender to drive a perfect shot past Horlock for a great finish.

After another massive penalty shout following a handball in the Hitchin area, Hitchin started throwing everything at Frome as they looked for the equaliser, and after they had hit the bar with a thunderbolt in the 85th, pressure told in the 93rd minute as a corner to the near post was not dealt with and Alassan Ann swept the ball home through a crowd of players.

So near and yet so far for Frome, but with a run of home games coming up now, a much better disciplinary record in the last few games and a fully available squad following this game, the hope is that they will now start climbing the table to a position more in keeping with the ability of the squad.

Matt Smith was chosen for the “H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award” and that’s a fitting reward for a player who always gives 100% in all matches.