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Slough Town 1-1 Frome Town – Evo-Stik Southern Premier, Sat. 18th April.

A second half goal from Jack Vallis cancelled out a first half goal from Chris Henry and  ensured a priceless point at Slough Town that allowed Frome Town to edge closer to Southern Premier survival with just one game left to play.

Frome were without the services of Jon Vance but were pleased to welcome Ben Thomson back to the bench with Ben Worlock starting again, this time at number 7. With a stiff wind and a dry bouncy pitch to contend with, this was never going to be a game of classic football, but it was very important that Frome got something from it.

Frome started brightly and the first minute saw Ricky Hulbert shoot over after a cross from Mark Cooper was headed down by Ollie Taylor, and 10 minutes later, Lewis Haldane was close to getting on the end of a Taylor cross.

After Ben Worlock had set Matt Smith free on the right, Slough’s first chance of the match came in the 34th as Ed Smith flicked the ball over Chris McGrath, but his half volley from just outside the box cleared the bar, but a  minute later, Slough took the lead as the Frome defence failed to deal with Daniel Read’s cross and Chris Henry bundled the ball over the line from six yards out.

Frome had a couple of chances fall to Rhys Baggridge just before half time, but in the first instance he did well to escape his marker but headed wide from six yards, and sliced a long range shot well wide after being set up by Worlock.

With Arlesey in the lead at half time at Truro, it was very important that Frome recovered from the early goal, and the crucial second half got underway with Frome playing the better of the two sides and looking most likely to score.

Ollie Taylor and Matt Smith both went close, and Taylor had a big chance in the 62nd as a deep cross from Ricky Hulbert was headed back by substitute Ben Thomson, but he missed the ball as it bounced up, and disaster almost befell Frome a minute later, but Darren Chitty pulled off a great save to get down and push an overhead kick from Ed Smith behind for a corner.

As the final whistle started to become ominously nearer, Frome’s spirits were lifted as Jack Vallis capped a topsy turvey week with the equaliser in the 71st as he rose above everyone to head home a free kick from substitute Kris Miller.

Frome now went looking for the winner and a stinging drive from Taylor was palmed away by Luke Williams at full stretch and from the resulting throw, Hulbert teed up Cooper and as he drove in from the right, his first time effort missed the far post by inches.

Chitty saved a low shot from Smith in the 78th minute, and the last 10 minutes calmed down with Frome content to make sure that they held on to the precious point that they held as the news came through that Arlesey were losing 3-1 at Truro.

The excellent second half performance now means that if Banbury fail to beat Slough on Tuesday night, then Frome are safe from relegation, and if not, then a point in their last match against St Neot’s would ensure safety.

Ben Worlock was awarded the  H&B Tyres Man of the Match award for an excellent performance and how different Frome’s league position might be if this talented midfielder had been fit all season.

Crowd: 352. Entertainment Value: 3/5.