**ADVANCE COURIERS 5-0 FROLESWORTH UNITED**
FROLESWORTH United began life in 2010 by bowing out of the Arthur Moore Cup at the quarter-final stage, after last season’s all-conquering Couriers capitalised on a disappointing start from the visitors.
The Rabbits had been out of action for almost two months having been severely hit by the big freeze and their winter was made all the worse when they were hit with a fine and four-point penalty for fielding an ineligible player from the F.A.
But manager Ben Harris turned his attentions to an exciting cup run, which had seen his side drawn away to last season’s treble winners in a repeat of last season’s first round tie, with Couriers edging an enthralling encounter 3-2.
Harris handed Adam Tester the responsibility of keeping goal in the absence of his two recognised stoppers, with Joe Wilson, Mark James, Jack Boulton and Jack Rudman completing the back four.
In an attempt to frustrate the hosts, United employed a five-man midfield comprising of captain Joe Cook, Martin Finnigan, the effervescent Jake Pantony, Steven Bottom and debutant Josh Peel, leaving the pacy youngster Miles Splevings to fend for himself up top.
However, in extremely difficult weather conditions, the visitors faltered from the starting blocks and were immediately facing an uphill battle. Tester’s cold fingertips could only nudge a long-range effort and the hosts were fastest to react to break the deadlock inside 10 minutes.
Frolesworth’s response came through the isolated Cook minutes later, when he picked up the ball on the far side before beating two static defenders, but he could only steer his weak shot straight at the goalkeeper.
And the Premier League table-toppers doubled their advantage soon after, when they punished Finnigan for needlessly surrendering possession in his own half and after some neat interchange on the edge of the box, Couriers were soon two goals to the good.
The home side’s tails were up and it was Tester keeping them at bay, when he was at full-stretch to turn a powerful free-kick around the post low to his right, but he was powerless to prevent the hosts from notching a third just after the half hour.
Further below par defending from a set piece resurfaced to haunt Frolesworth when they failed to clear their lines and they were duly punished, a persistent problem, which has plagued Harris’ side so far this season.
Harris would have been hoping to keep within sight before the break, but further slack defending allowed the hosts to put the tie firmly beyond United’s grasp, when Rudman allowed his man the freedom of Horsewell Lane to supply a sumptuous cross for the fourth.
The winger would repeat his trick just shy of the break, but this time he lashed home a devastating pile driver to kill off any dreams of a miraculous comeback.
But the Division One strugglers were intent on enjoying their day and Harris introduced Matt Pell at the break and also handed striker Sam Young his debut. The changes didn’t entail a drastic change of fortunes for the Clarets, however, and it was further one-way traffic in the second period.
Tester was again alert to repel the rampant hosts with a sublime double save at the back post, before Couriers took their proverbial foot off the pedal and allowed Frolesworth to make more of a fight of it with twenty minutes remaining.
Pantony, who had remained dwarfed in the middle of the park throughout, finally broke beyond the forward line and should have given Frolesworth the consolation goal that their endeavour deserved, but he could only angle his shot narrowly wide.
The Rabbits continued to pour forward in search of a solitary reply and forced a succession of corners late on, of which, one was scrambled clear off the goal line, but ultimately it wasn’t to be their day and Harris will be quick to roll out the old cliché of focusing on their league campaign.
For Every Man A Religion.
The People's Club.