Frome Town leave it late to pick up point at Chippenham Town in Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division
By Somerset Standard | Thursday, January 03, 2013, 09:00
Chippenham Town 2 Frome Town 2
Matt Smith, right, competes for the ball during Frome's defeat at home to Bideford on Boxing Day Picture: Charles Hadfield
Perhaps it is time for manager Darren Perrin to start giving his half-time team talk prior to the game as, for the fourth match in a row, Frome Town produced a dire first-half performance before improving after the break.
The Robins were thankful to keeper Darren Chitty for limiting Chippenham Town to a two-goal lead at the break but the visitors did much better in the second half and goals from Mike Perrott and Dean Evans earned a share of the points.
Chippenham began playing down the slope and the match started in the worst possible way for Frome as a seventh-minute corner saw Ryan Bennett send a header past Chitty and into his own net.
From that moment, the match became a mountain to climb for Frome. Chippenham had the ball in the net in the 13th minute when a free-kick was turned in at the third attempt after Chitty had made a tremendous double save but the goal was disallowed for offside.
After Frome had started to make the occasional foray into the home half, they were rocked in the 26th minute when striker Alan Griffin headed powerfully home unmarked from another corner.
Only a goalline clearance two minutes later and another fine Chitty double save shortly afterwards kept the deficit at two goals, while Evans was booked for a challenge on former Robin Luke Ballinger.
A rare Frome attack saw Matt Smith go down as he burst into the box, only to be booked for diving, while Alex Lapham had to be helped from the pitch after a five-minute stoppage for a nasty-looking ankle injury.
Playing down the slope after the break, Frome immediately looked better and Smith brought a save from Ben John, who also kept out a Darren Jefferies effort, while Chitty produced a top-class stop at the other end.
Evans was pushed up front alongside Dave Gilroy in the 65th minute but Frome still did not look to have the required cutting edge until ten minutes later, when a corner was headed back across goal by Martin Johnson and Perrott's mid-air volley flew into the net.
Chitty was called into action a minute later and Chippenham seemed to be comfortable holding on until, in the final minute of normal time, Evans' stunning 30-yard shot flew into the net to earn Frome a point.
The H&B Tyres Man of the Match award went to Chitty.
Frome Town 0 Bideford 1
Only luck and the heroics of Frome keeper Darren Chitty prevented Bideford having this match done and dusted by half-time, but a much more even second period could have gone either way, with the visitors pinching the only goal.
Despite their long journey for a Boxing Day fixture, Bideford were the sharper of the two sides early on and, in the fourth minute, a simple through ball found Sean Downing in acres of space but his shot clipped the post on its way wide.
One minute later, Frome were again lucky as a Bideford free-kick found Kevin Squire totally unmarked in the box but his powerful downward header missed the target by a yard when it almost looked easier to score.
Frome recovered from this early wayward period and started to take the game to the visitors but they could not carve out good chances or meaningful shots on target.
In the 25th minute, the dangerous Downing ran at the Frome defence and brought an excellent save from Chitty, while Matt Andrew put the ball over from the rebound.
Alex Lapham went close for Frome shortly afterwards after being set up by Dave Gilroy but the shot just cleared the top corner, while Downing had another chance but headed over from a corner.
Downing continued to cause problems and ran hard at the Frome defence in the 37th minute. A desperate sliding challenge from Matt Smith was adjudged to have been a foul in the box but Chitty saved Matt Hockley's spot-kick. The resulting corner saw another impressive save as Chitty managed to push the ball over from a header and Frome survived some pinball in their own area from two subsequent corners.
Lewis Powell was replaced by Ryan Bennett just before half-time and, with Smith reverting to his midfield role, Frome appeared to have better shape as the second period got under way.
The home side's best chance came in the 50th minute when a good Smith run set up a shooting chance for Dean Evans but he was denied by a good save from Paul Hider. Chitty saved well from Squire a minute later and Dave Thompson headed a Frome corner over the bar as the match turned into an end-to-end affair.
Evans' looping header came back off the bar for Frome in the 56th minute but the visitors grabbed the only goal of the game shortly afterwards when Jack Furzer turned and shot cleanly into the far corner from just inside the box.
Frome went looking for the equaliser and only a great save from Hider denied Smith, while Bideford's Ian Sampson was relieved to see just a yellow card after a tackle left Thompson on the ground and produced an angry reaction from the hosts.
However, Frome could not create another opportunity and, on an energy-sapping pitch, Bideford looked comfortable holding on.
The H&B Tyres Man of the Match award was presented to Evans by the "Cornish Contingent", a group of Frome supporters in Cornwall who travelled hundreds of miles to see a game they sponsored.
Frome Collegians suffered a frustrating December, with their last three league fixtures all postponed due to waterlogged pitches.
They are due to return to action on Saturday when they host Burnham United in Division 1 of the Somerset County League (2pm).