Away cup match played on 25 September 2011.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

A GALLANT young Frolesworth United side battled bravely for 90 minutes at Horsewell Lane this morning, but it was ultimately in vain as they were narrowly edged by Premier Division giants and Arthur Moore Cup holders Advance Couriers in a pulsating Arthur Moore Cup Group C encounter.


18-year-old striker Callum Wills had given Frolesworth a dream start after just 15 minutes when he burst through to score and the news rippled throughout the county as Alliance League consultant Dennis Roe arrived in Wigston to find the Division One minnows leading at the break.


However, Advance hit back shortly after the restart with a double salvo in four second-half minutes from Liam O'Flynn and Stu Spencer, only for Martin Fennon to come agonisingly close to a deserved leveller when his thunderous volley was tipped over.


Tom Stokes then fell under a clumsy challenge for what looked a stonewall penalty, but referee Mark Lever was reluctant to give the decision against the home team, who compounded Frolesworth misery when Reece Lester finished a smash and grab counter-attack to put the game out of reach.


Second-half substitute Harry Simmons grabbed his second in as many games from off the bench with just three minutes remaining to give the Rabbits a feint glimmer of hope, but it was ultimately too little, too late as Ben Harris' side slipped to their first defeat of the season.


United came into the game having not been beaten in three outings so far this campaign and they went joint top of Group C after a 4-1 demolition of Horse at Knighton Park last week. Manager Harris was still without the services of Jake Pantony, who was missing with an ankle injury, but he still managed to make several changes from the side that cruised to victory last week.


Sam Green returned between the sticks following his ommision for Craig Coombs last week, while Jack Boulton returned alongside skipper Mark James at the expense of Steven Bottom. Max Hallam retained his place at left-back, while Dan Morrow retreated to right-back instead of Joe Swanwick, who dropped to the bench.


Top goal-scorer Stokes returned on the left-flank, while Miles Splevings retained his place on the right after an impressive display against Horse. Fennon came off the bench to score his first of the season at Knighton Park and he was rewarded with a starting berth alongside Dominic Ivens in the middle of the park, while Joe Cook returned to partner Wills up front.


But the hosts' quality began to show immediately from kick-off, as United, who had previously been so free-flowing this season, predictably set up with two banks of four in an attempt to frustrate their Premier Division opponents.


Green's goal lived a charmed life in the opening exchanges though, as former Magna striker Ryan Ogden tormented the visitors and a combination of excellent defending and poor finishing prevented him from opening the scoring.


At the other end, Cook, who had dropped deeper into the hole, had a sighter from long range before he turned provider for Wills in the 15th minute. His work-rate has improved vastly this season and he nicked possession in the centre circle before sending an inch-perfect pass for the lively Wills to latch on to and with his first glimpse of goal, he confidently slotted home to give United a lead to defend.


And they did exactly that so vehemently for the remainder of the opening period, with both Boulton and captain James standing strong to an ariel bombardment from the hosts, while the tireless Ivens and Fennon harried and chased down every pass in midfield.


But both Harris and his assistant Jordan Halford knew that their side couldn't keep up their tremendous discipline and endeavour for the entire 90 minutes and it looked as though another goal would finally kill off Couriers, but they would have been disappointed when just six minutes in to the second-half it was their own spirited resistance which was finally broken, albeit in contentious circumstances. 


Splevings failed to sufficiently clear the danger on the edge of his box, but it looked as though he had been given a reprieve when Fennon managed to pick up the loose ball. However, he was felled 25-yards from his own goal and the sky blues' appeals for a foul fell on deaf ears as O'Flynn raced through to curl his effort beyond the out-stretched Green.


It was a real test of character for Frolesworth now, but just three minutes later they were facing an uphill battle as centre-half Spencer made the most of some slack marking from the visitors to head home unmarked from just six-yards and spark an inquest amongst the United defence.


It was a real hammer-blow for The Rabbits, but they picked themselves up with 25 minutes remaining when Cook grabbed his side by the proverbial scruff of the neck and drove at the heart of the Advance defence, fizzing a vicious low-drive just the wrong side of the post in the process.


Fennon, ever-industrious throughout, burst through following a neat interchange with Ivens soon after and saw his powerful drive tipped over the bar for a corner before Stokes was felled in the area to huge appeals from the visitors, but once again lady luck didn't appear to be smiling down on them and referee Mr. Lever waved their claims away.


There was only one side in the contest now, as United once again had the Premier League side on the backfoot but just as United started to really grow in confidence, the game was put beyond them completely against the run of play when Lester converted an Ogden cut-back on the break.


It was harsh on Frolesworth, who were in danger of being buried. But determined not to give up, second-half substitute Simmons hit back with his second of the season after great work from Fennon had set the front-man free to prod home and in doing so give the visitors a lifeline.


But unfortunately for them, in spite of centre-half Jack Boulton once again being hurled up front for the dying seconds, they couldn't fashion another opportunity and the game agonisingly ebbed away as Frolesworth slipped to their first defeat of the campaign.


And so, after taking the lead and then clinging so admirably on throughout, the game served merely as a yardstick to how far this young, energetic Frolesworth side have come in such a short space of time this season.


Manager Ben Harris will turn his attentions back to the league next week, as he continues his search for promotion to the promised land of the Premier League and on this evidence United proved they could certainly compete with the county's big boys.


With centre-half Harvey Morgan, versatile left-footer Jack Sutherland and the talismanic Jake Pantony back in the side, who knows how far this talented squad can go?







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