Home league match played on 13 March 2011.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM


TOM STOKES’ debut goal failed to prevent Frolesworth United from slumping to a shameful and hideously embarrassing defeat at the hands of the division’s basement boys AFC Hurricanes in an ill-tempered affair at the Warren on Sunday morning, as the visitors took a 2-0 lead inside the opening ten minutes with just NINE men.

Stokes, who completed a move to United on Thursday, gave his new side a glimmer of hope with a wonderful lob on 72 minutes before twice thumping the crossbar with two magnificent volleys, but ultimately he couldn’t rescue his side from a disastrous start.

A furious manager Ben Harris lambasted his players following the defeat, in particular those that failed to show up as he was faced with the nigh on impossible task of selecting his team from a threadbare 11 players.

Harris later branded the dismal performance as the worst he has witnessed whilst under his tutelage, in spite of the fact that he was without a recognised goalkeeper. Matt Errington was out with a knee injury, while Luke Evans swapped the greenery of Hall Park for the beaches of Florida alongside captain Mark Baker.

Third choice Jamie Hives was also unavailable and Mark Lill was out with a back-injury meaning Boston-bound Daniel Herring was forced to start his last game of the season in between the posts behind a more-familiar looking back-four of Mark James, Jack Boulton, the returning Martin Fennon and Jack Rudman, who had returned from Australia just hours before kick-off.

Chairman Josh Baines made his first start since November of last year on the left-hand side, while Joe Cook reverted to the right either side of Steven Bottom and the talismanic Jake Pantony, meaning the young pairing of Miles Splevings and new-signing Stokes would lead the line for the Clarets.

But the visitors, who were eight points adrift of safety afoot the bottom of Division One heading into the game and were forced to start proceedings with only nine players, took a shock lead after just six minutes.

Opposing forward Danny Taylor escaped the attentions of both Fennon and Boulton, who were caught napping and he confidently dispatched past the advancing Herring. And he wasn’t done there either, as he helped himself to a second four minutes later to completely stun the hosts.

It was Rudman this time that was beaten in the air and Taylor latched onto the loose ball quickly, before outpacing the flat-footed Boulton and completing a dream start for the visitors.

It was a calamitous opening for Harris’ side though and they completely failed to get anything going for the remainder of the half, prompting the manager to change to a previously untried 3-4-3 system at the break.

Splevings swapped the gloves with Herring after flaring up a recurring groin injury, while Boulton moved into the midfield alongside Pantony. Cook moved alongside Herring and Stokes up front, meaning Bottom was preferred on the right and as Assistant Manager Jordan Halford arrived late at the ground, the home side finally began to put some pressure on the visitors’ goal.

It was new-signing Stokes, though, who grabbed his new side by the scruff of the neck and was breathing fresh impetus into United as the Hurricanes keeper, who had been kept quiet up until now, dived at his feet to thwart the onrushing striker.

But with just under 20 minutes remaining, Stokes would throw the Rabbits a lifeline back into the game with a strike of unbelievable technical ability. Pantony and Fennon both worked the ball out to Bottom, who delivered a low cross behind the striker.

But Stokes somehow managed to realign his feet and volley the ball both over his and the backpedalling goalkeeper’s head with the heel of his boot and into the far corner.

The goal gave Frolesworth renewed belief and vigour, something which had been devoid of them for the previous 70 minutes and the game completely exploded into life thereafter with Stokes again the tormentor.

This time he volleyed onto the bar after another sumptuous cross from the right, and with Hurricanes and in particular the whinging Danny McNulty more intent on complaining at the referee, the woodwork would once again come to their rescue as Stokes and more so Harris were left cursing their luck.

But with time running out, tempers were left flaring once again as Assistant Manager Halford was furious with Pantony after a short free-kick 30-yards out resulted in Frolesworth not only losing possession, but with it their final opportunity of launching the ball into the opposition’s box.

Indeed, United had been punished for it against Horse in their last encounter, when Mike Tuxford headed home unmarked. Itself, a blossoming illustration that anything can happen if the ball is hoisted into the danger area in stoppage time.

But Pantony instead would take his frustrations out by firstly slashing at a loose ball and then launching a dangerous challenge from behind, which prompted a 22-man outfield brawl resulting in the number 8 being booked, and the visitors having two more players sent off in what was an unsavoury end to the game.

And so, in the week where Hall Park was sold and the Rabbits were not only left homeless, but also on the brink of liquidation, Frolesworth slipped to another defeat, which leaves them once again flirting precariously above the division’s trapdoor and without a win in their last five attempts.


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