Evostik Southern League Premier Division
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Saturday 1st April 2017
Having hauled themselves to within three points of leaders Chippenham Town with a hard earned victory on Tuesday night at Cinderford, Brakes took two steps backwards as they went down to a second half goal at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.
A frustrating afternoon was summed up in injury time when second half substitute Stefan Moore saw a penalty saved by impressive visiting keeper Kyle Phillips.
Ahmed Obeng was the first to be denied by the Frome goalkeeper inside the opening couple of minutes when he latched onto Jack Edwards’ flick on from Richard Taundry’s long throw on the right wing. The angle was acute but Phillips still had to make the block, which he did well.
Phillips then rushed off his line to get to a through ball inches ahead of Obeng. The game became scrappy, with neither side able to take control. The visitors were well organised and difficult to break down, while beginning to create chances of their own. George Miller saw a shot blocked while a loose touch by Taundry let in Darren Jefferies on the left, Jamie Hood bailing his team mate out with a timely block.
Edwards headed a deep left wing cross from Robbie Thompson-Brown wide of the target, with Courtney Baker-Richardson berating him as he felt he had been better placed just behind him. Obeng was then denied once more as he tore through on goal from a defence splitting pass by Callum Gittings, only for Phillips to spring off his line to parry the shot, the ball looping behind him and just past the post.
Marcus Mapstone was the width of a post from giving Frome the lead with a powerful header, while Edwards twisted to head on target at the other end, Phillips saving comfortably. His opposite number Tony Breeden then got down well to keep out Ollie Knight’s stabbed effort which looked to be heading for the bottom corner.
Stefan Moore was introduced early in the second half to try and turn things Leamington’s way and he almost had an immediate impact as he ran onto a through ball just outside the box but stumbled as he tried to turn two defenders, and was penalised for handball.
Baker-Richardson was then penalised as he tried to connect with a dangerous ball across the six yard box from Obeng, but Frome were also carving out chances, and after Jefferies had seen his shot deflected through to Breeden by Taundry after a good move across the Leamington area, the visitors stung their hosts as they moved ahead, striker Jake Jackson cracking a fine 20 yard drive beyond the dive of Breeden into the bottom corner on 64 minutes.
Brakes visibly attempted to up the tempo, and Baker-Richardson’s drive from the right was well blocked by Phillips, before Jamie Hood hammered a glorious chance high over the bar following a long throw.
Knight headed well wide for Frome, who probably should have put the game out of reach when Taundry gave the ball away in his right back position and it was fired into the centre where substitute Jordan Walker ballooned his shot wide from a great position.
Obeng was inches from diverting Gittings’ shot into the net at the far post as frustration grew on and off the pitch, while Moore got in behind the Frome defence again but was left shaking his head in disbelief as his powerful drive was beaten away by Phillips.
It looked as though Leamington had finally got a break deep into injury time when Breeden, who had pushed up in a desperate attempt to help force an equaliser, was felled by Walker as he connected with Gittings’ ball back into the box following a half cleared corner. With recently successful penalty taker Thompson-Brown off the pitch, Moore took responsibility, but Phillips put the gloss on an impressive performance by guessing right and making yet another good save.
It was a hugely disappointing way to begin a critical final month of the season having been so clinical during March, but although a play off place is all but secured there is still a very small glimmer of hope of snatching that precious top spot. However, there is no longer any room for error if this is to be achieved.
*On a positive note, the bucket collection organised to raise money for the former Frome player Jamie Mines, raised £445. Thank you to all those who donated.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Jordan Goddard (12 Stefan Moore, 56), Jamie Hood, Joe Magunda, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Callum Gittings, Ahmed Obeng, Jack Edwards, Rob Thompson-Brown (15 Kurtis Revan, 72).
Subs not used: 14 James Mace, 16 Tom James, 17 Charlie Hornby.
Frome Town: Kyle Phillips, Krissy Miller, Chris Gregan, Sam Teale ©, Marcus Mapstone, Clayton Green, Ollie Knight, George Miller, Jake Jackson (12 Ryan Bath, 77), Mikey Bryant ( 14 Jordan Walker, 85), Darren Jefferies.
Subs not used: 15 Ben Cleverley, 17 Josh Jefferies.
Referee: Mr Darren Wilding
Assistant Referees: Mr Paul Tyler & Mr Liam Corbett
Brakes Man of the Match: Callum Gittings.