IN-FORM Frome completed the league double over Stratford Town, who are still not mathematically safe from relegation, writes Bryan Hale.
Two more points are still required to guarantee Town a second season in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division, although realistically a point would be enough with rivals Bideford holding a vastly-inferior goal difference to that of Stratford’s.
James Cutts started in goal at Frome in place of Andy Kemp, who was attending a charity event, while Michael McGrath was back in midfield after completing his five-match ban.
Stratford went close to taking the lead in only the fifth minute when Jamie Sheldon’s low drive from 25 yards out hit the foot of Frome keeper Ed Baldy’s right-hand post and rebounded against the keeper to go behind for a corner.
At the other end, a Darren Jefferies effort was also deflected behind before Stratford squandered a great chance on 15 minutes when Sheldon’s pass left Simeon Tulloch with only Baldy to beat, but he hit his shot too close to the keeper who was able to fingertip it away.
With heavy showers making conditions even more testing, the game developed into a midfield slog, but Stratford again came close on the half-hour mark when a long-range attempt from Jack Roberts ricocheted off a defender and looped over the stranded Baldy on to the roof of the net.
But it was Frome who upped their tempo after the break and went ahead on 55 minutes.
Jon Davies whipped in a cross from the right for Jake Jackson to shoot against Cutts and Dan Cleverley pounced on the loose ball to fire home.
And 12 minutes later they doubled their lead when Davies floated over a left wing corner and it glanced off the unfortunate Marcel Simpson and into the net past the helpless Cutts.
Stratford seldom looked likely to get back into the game from then on, although substitute Mark Magee was not far away with a decent effort.
Town can seal their safety with victory over league leaders Poole Town at the DCS Stadium on Tuesday night.
TOWN: James Cutts, Gary Moran (c), Kieren Westwood, Marcel Simpson, Liam Francis, Jack Roberts, Simeon Tulloch, Michael McGrath (Mark Magee 73), Tyrone Fagan, Dior Angus (Charlie Faulkner 65), Jamie Sheldon. Subs not used: Aaron Stringfellow, Luke Fox
Full report in next week’s Herald
Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division table