In front of a bumper crowd at Badger’s Hill, Bristol Manor Farm reached the playoff final with an incredible performance, writes Jack Davies.
Frome had narrowly missed out on the title and looked in a determined mood early on. Jon Davies, fresh from a hattrick last time out, dealt better with a long ball and fired narrowly wide, in the game’s first chance.
The early home pressure continued as Joe O’Loughlin found himself unmarked at the back post following a Matt Smith cross, but he got his header all wrong.
Farm’s first chance after a nervous first 25 minutes was a very presentable one. Owen Howe fought for a loose ball and once his shot was tipped wide by James Carey, Jayden Neilsen was somehow denied by a block by Alex Monks as the Farm winger looked certain to score at the back post.
Frome would take a lead after the half-hour. O’Loughlin allowed ample time and space to cut inside from the left and fire a wonderful finish into the far corner. 1-0.
The celebrations had barely died down before Farm got themselves instantly level. Owen Howe flicked an Aron Robbins cross on and Kye Simpson finished delightfully at the back post.
Farm ended a hard-fought first half on the front foot. Jake Gosling curled the ball just over with Carey scrambling before Howe sliced a volley over the bar after he met a Mike Bryant flick-on.
Frome starting the second half as well as they did the first. Simpson was denied by a brilliant block by Steve Kingdon before former Farm man Rex Mannings fired the rebound wide.
The Farm would go ahead as the long throw of Kingdon continued to cause problems. The big defender launched into the box and once the ball was allowed to bounce, Howe launched himself to the header to put the visitors ahead.
Frome looked to get their own instant reply just minutes after they fell behind. Smart one-touch play between Simpson and Smith led to the latter seeing a shot blocked by Josh Ford and Teale was only able to fire the rebound just wide.
Farm all but sealed the win in the 70th minute. Good running by Simpson led to him finding Gosling and his perfect cross was emphatically headed home by Howe, to spark wild scenes in the corner where the travelling Farmy Army was largely gathered.
Frome pushed and pushed for a route back but found Farm’s defence as stubborn as always. Kingdon and Ford headed successful corners away before Ben John punched the final cross away.
The referee blew the whistle to send the Farm fans into delirium and the Farm players into Monday’s play-off final at Winchester.
STAR MAN, Theo Llewellyn.