Banbury United 3 Frome Town 4
Banbury got the proverbial wake up call as Frome Town hit four to send United to their first defeat of the season.
In the second minute of the game a Banbury free-kick from wide on the left taken by Tom Winters saw Luke Carnell get his head to the ball first at the edge of the six yard box but under pressure he couldn't keep the ball down and it went over the bar. However, just two minutes later and it would be the visitors who would get the benefit of an early goal when a good run down the left by Jon Davies to the edge of the Banbury six yard box down by the by-line saw him cross into the centre where the Banbury defence though having chances were unable to clear the ball with it in the scramble then falling to George Miller eight yards out who rifled it past Jack Harding.
In the sixth minute Ravi Shamsi's excellent run in from the right ended with him curling a shot from the edge of the Frome penalty area just over the bar. Sixty seconds later, a long cross field pass from Jefferson Louis from the right set Tom Winters through on goal down the left hand side and the winger competently slotted the ball from eight yards past Kyle Phillips in the Frome goal into the far bottom corner of the net, only for him to then see the Assistant Referee's flag up for off-side much to the disagreement of United supporters.
Frome could easily have made it 2-0 in the 9th minute when a cross in from the left by Darren Jeffries found Jake Jackson in space eight yards out but he shot over the bar. And the visitors went close again a minute later when Davies was allowed to run from the half way line to the edge of the Banbury penalty area, his deflected shot going just inches wide of the far post.
In the 13th minute Banbury were close to equalising when George Nash passed the ball through to Louis on the edge of the Frome penalty area who used his strength and guile to create an opening but his shot from 12 yards was saved by the legs of Phillips at the expense of a corner.
It had been an extremely eventful and entertaining first 15 minutes but at this point, perhaps not surprisingly, the game settled down.
However, in the 26th minute rather out of the blue Frome would make it 2-0 when a cross in from the left by Davies saw Darren Jeffries nick the ball off Carnell on the edge of the Banbury penalty area and take it forward a few yards before striking it past an exposed Harding from 12 yards.
Banbury were though right back in the game in the 37th minute when Tom Bradbury took the ball inside from the left, played a one-two with Conor McDonagh that put him through on goal and he then struck the ball from a narrow angle low past the advancing custodian into the far bottom corner of the net.
Despite the goal for Banbury there was not a huge change in the dynamics of the game, certainly Frome would have the better of the remainder of the half and just four minutes after the interval they would restore their two goal lead when Jake Jackson went on a storming run straight down the middle from just inside the Banbury half and though he was tackled on the edge of the Banbury penalty area by Carnell, the ball found its way to Jon Davies two yards outside the area down the right whose chipped shot found its way into the far bottom corner of the net.
On 54 minutes a free kick from the left taken by Winters was headed back across goal from deep at the far post by Tom Bradbury with the incoming Carnell heading just over the bar from the edge of the six yard box. Just after the hour mark a free kick from wide on the right taken by Shamsi just eluded the incoming Banbury players as the ball went across the six yard box without anyone touching it and going just wide of the far post.
Ravi Shamsi has scored two excellent goals in recent weeks and he was so close to another one on 70 minutes when he picked up the ball inside his own half, played a neat one-two, before going on a surging run to the edge of the Frome penalty area where he let fly, the ball hitting the bottom of the post before coming out and hitting the prostrate Phillips and then being hacked clear by Marcus Mapstone. Less than 60 seconds later and Charlie Hawtin appeared, at least to United supporters, to have been brought down just inside the Frome penalty area down the right but the referee saw things differently and waved play on.
If either the Shamsi effort had gone in or the penalty appeal upheld then things may have turned out result wise very differently but just two minutes later a superb 35 yard strike by Davies from wide out on the left flew over Harding's head into the far top corner of the net to make it 4-1.
A quarter of an hour from time a Matt Peake-Pijnen shot from 12 yards was blocked by the feet of Chas Hemmings though the Frome defender appeared to know little about it. But Frome were looking rather comfortable until in the 88th minute a Shamsi in-swinging cross from the right was met by the incoming Louis at the six yard line, the United striker making no mistake in heading the ball past Phillips.
Two minutes later and United had reduced the deficit to a single goal when Ricky Johnson headed the ball forward to Leam Howards on the edge of the six yard box and though Phillips saved the United striker's initial header he could do no more than palm the ball up into the air back into the path of Howards who headed the ball into the net from close range.
Deep into stoppage time, there was a final chance for United to grab a very unlikely point when a cross into the centre from the left by Louis saw Johnson's flicked header from 12 yards saved by Phillips, that action bringing an end to the game.
Overall, it was an excellent showing from Frome and a deserved three points for the Somerset side against what was, despite the two late goals, a disappointing performance from United who were always facing an uphill battle after defensive frailties had found them 2-0 down after less than half an hour of the game.
Banbury United: Jack Harding, Charlie Hawtin, Tom Bradbury, George Nash, Ricky Johnson, Luke Carnell, Ravi Shamsi, Darren Pond (Jack Westbrook 55), Jefferson Louis, Conor McDonagh (Leam Howards 73), Tom Winters (Matt Peake-Pijnen 55). Subs (not used): Jack Self, Sam Humphreys.
Frome Town: Kyle Phillips, Kris Miller, Ben Withey, George Miller, Marcus Mapstone, Chas Hemmings, Jon Davies, Joe Raynes, Jake Jackson (Ryan Bath 82), Darren Jefferies, Ollie Knight (Rob Hobbs 75). Subs (not used): Ben Griffiths, Mitchell Page, Ollie Price.