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Hitchin Town 1-2 Frome Town – Evo-Stik Southern Premier, Sat. 16th Jan.

With a red card apiece, a penalty save from Darren Chitty and a last minute 30 yard winner into the top corner, this match had just about everything as Frome Town produced a great performance to win 2-1 in front of a large crowd at high flying Hitchin Town.

Frome were pleased to welcome team captain Sam Teale back into the left back slot, and Connor Roberts who had been man of the match against Dorchester retained his place in the centre of defence, with Jordy Nkunga dropping to the bench. New dual signing from Gloucester George Miller took his place in midfield, a position that has been causing concerns in the last few matches.

Frome were the first to show as in the 15th minute, Darren Jefferies played a great ball into Jon Davies who turned, beat two and curled the ball inches over the bar from just inside the left hand side of the home penalty area, and nine minutes later Hitchin’s Lucas Fitzpatrick let fly with a first time  effort from 20 yards which sailed just past the post.

Frome had Rob Hobbs sent off in the 24th minute for retaliation after a heavy challenge, and Connor Roberts picked up a yellow six minutes later with a heavy challenge that left him limping for a bit. From the resulting free kick on the right touchline, Alasan  Ann won the ball in the air well, but his header was straight at Chitty who gathered comfortably.

In the 43rd minute, a great run by Davies saw him beat two before being brought down by the yellow carded Lewis Rolfe, and Hitchin were then made to pay for the challenge as Mitchell Page bravely dived low to head home the Davies free kick to give them a 1-0 lead.

However the lead only lasted two minutes as Jonny McNamara equalised for the hosts with a header from close range at the far post as a ball from the right was headed across the face of the goal, and at half time, the 10 men of Frome could be proud of their achievements at a difficult place to get a result.

Hitchin had a chance just after the interval as a ball from Alasan Ann was helped on to McNamara, but the striker hit the shot wide when clean through, then Davies curled a free kick just over the bar for Frome, and 10 minutes later a low snap shot from Robbie Burns was held comfortably by Chitty.

The number of players on each side  became equal in the 58th as Lewis Rolfe was shown his second yellow of the afternoon for blocking the run of James Fitzgibbon, but Hitchin then went close as Chitty clawed away a cross from McNamara and in the aftermath, Kris Miller bravely cleared off the line allowing Chitty to gather at the feet of a home forward.

Chitty again showed his class in the 64th as a great save pushed a dipping, 25 yard volley from McNamara just over the bar, and with Hitchin being denied a big penalty shout for handball in the 77th, Frome were starting to look a little vulnerable.

Davies tried an audacious effort from range that had Charlie Horlock beaten all ends up, but the ball went inches over, and then it looked bleak for Frome in the 83rd as McNamara was brought down in the box, but Chitty threw himself to his left to save from Burns, and in the last minute of normal time, the travelling fans went into ecstasy as Frome debutant George Miller hit a 30 yard screamer  into the top corner.

With seven minutes of injury time being played, it was a nervous end to the match which ended with Hitchin hitting the Frome bar with a header from a corner, but the team held onto their lead and brought a priceless three points home in their quest to climb out of the relegation zone.

George Miller  was awarded the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award, though on the day there were numerous candidates in a very good, hard working and committed performance.

Frome Scorers: Page (43), Miller (90). Hitchin Scorers: McNamara (45). Crowd: 572. Star Man: George Miller. Entertainment Value: 5/5.