Match Report: Frome Town vs Melksham Town
A bumper crow of over 1,000 in Frome as the Town faithful travelled in numbers to Somerset for a clash against the local rivals. Town have much improved since the reverse fixture at Oakfields which saw The Robins cruise to a 3-0 win. The hosts have since maintained their terrific form; 13 wins and an unbeaten home record earning them a sizeable lead at the top of the table. Town have also bolstered their options up front, midweek signing Kyle Tooze came straight in for his first start in a Melksham shirt.
There was not much to report on in the opening stages of the game, as Town worked hard to not let Frome control the game by pressing hard in midfield. This worked for Fey’s men as they had the better chances whilst the game began to open up - Albie Hopkins and Matt Hurley both had their goal-bound efforts denied. Matt Hall wasn’t really tested until he pulled off a stunning save to claw out Simpson’s effort from the top corner.
As the game was in the balance, both sides believed they could take the lead before halftime. To the delight of the travelling fans Aiden Chainey silence the noisy home crowd as he finished expertly after some great work from Jake Mawford. With little under 10 minutes left of the half, an already frustrated Frome find themselves in danger of losing their impressive undefeated home record.
Jon Davies nearly responded instantly when his shot fizzed just wide, then moments later up the other end Kyle Tooze’slobbed effort curled just wide. After a great first half of football Town went in with a deserved 1-0 lead at the break thanks to Aiden Chainey’s well taken opener.
Frome came out firing in the second half looking to get themselves back on level terms, the home side went close twice, forcing Matt Hall to make a couple of solid stops. But Town weren’t going to sit back, they continued to press and got their reward again through a guided header from in-form Sam Hendy. The attacker bagged his 4th goal in 7 games, doubling his sides lead in an intense encounter.
However, Frome are top of the league for a reason, and they proved just how dangerous they can be. The hosts got themselves back into the game on 56 minutes, following a well taken goal from former Town player Jon Davies. Following the goal Melksham did we told keep Frome at bay following sustained pressure, but the stern defence eventually cracked and in the 73rd minute, despite appeals for handbasll,Frome equalised through Rex Mannings.
Just as the hosts had the momentum and the crowd behind them, they were both silenced and stunned by Town’s debutant Kyle Tooze. The centre forward got in behind and finished expertly beyond the ‘keeper to give the visitors the lead just minutes after conceding the equaliser.
A nervy final 15 was to come for Melksham as Frome were to throw everything at them in search of an equaliser. There was a moment of distress as the ball rebounded off the post before Matt Hall gathered it to relieve the pressure, but the Town defence stood firm. In the dying embers of the game, deep into injury time, Alex Hallet sent the home fans into jubilation as he bagged a late equaliser for the league leaders.
It was heartbreak for the Melksham players and fans alike as the performance thoroughly deserved the win, but that is only testimony to how well they played against a top side. Town will also be looking to start another run of their own; as they end a losing streak Melksham get a chance to start an unbeaten one at home against Larkhall on New Year’s Day (3pm kick off).
By Lewie Simmons.