Away cup match played on 20 November 2011.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

FROLESWORTH United were dumped out of the Billy Walton Cup by lower league opposition for the third consecutive season after suffering a disappointing 5-3 defeat at the hands of Division Two promotion chasers Fosse City at Brighton Avenue.


Sam Young made his first start of the season for the Rabbits and gave his side a scarcely deserved 2-1 half-time lead but the visitors crumbled in alarming fashion after the restart, shipping in four goals in a lacklustre display, which now means they have suffered four away defeats on the bounce.


Manager Ben Harris was without the services of Jack Boulton, Martin Fennon and Jack Sutherland, who all featured in the abandoned fixture with FC Hoskins a fortnight ago and that was before wingers Miles Splevings and Tom Stokes both failed to show without informing the coaching staff.


However, Harris still managed to make just one change to the back-four which kept a clean sheet for 84 minutes last week, replacing Boulton with Max Hallam. His midfield though was rather more unorthodox, with striker Callum Wills employed on the left and Dan Morrow on the right, either side of Young and the talismanic Jake Pantony, but they would undoubtedly go on to miss the guile and zest that Fennon has displayed so far this season.


Harry Simmons partnered Joe Cook in attack as United once again lined up 4-4-2 away from home and that decision appeared to have initially paid dividends, as the Country Boys took the lead after just 11 minutes. Striker Cook was hauled down just outside of the penalty area for a free-kick, which Young gleefully converted with a perfectly weighted effort that curled handsomely into the top corner.


But the visitors' energy appeared to sap somewhat from then onwards as the home side gradually began to assert themselves on the game and they were on level terms just after the half-an-hour mark when centre-half Morgan clumsily conceded a penalty, albeit a soft one. The six-foot defender felled his opponent on the far side attempting to block a cross and after his protests fell on deaf ears, he was duly punished from the spot by Ryan Bayliss.


But the goal appeared to wake United up once again and they began to cruise through the gears as Simmons fired narrowly wide after a promising passing move culminated in Morrow's delicious cross fortuitously falling to the front-man. And just three minutes later, United led for a second time when the onrushing Young slammed home a loose ball on the volley.


But in truth, it was a lead that United's subdued performance hardly warranted, although Harris appeared to be content with his side's efforts during the break. However, the tie was completely turned on its head in 10 disastrous second-half minutes, which saw the home side score twice in quick succession.


Firstly, Fosse carved through United's right-hand side before Bayliss found himself in acres to confidently dispatch from close range before his strike-partner Nathan Williams, who tormented United with his boundless energy and frightening pace all morning, gave the visitors a well-deserved lead in the 54th minute.


But for all their want and endeavour, United's only response predictably came through Young, who was slipped through by Wills only to see his powerful left-footed drive fly agonisingly past the post. It was the only meaningful opportunity that the Division One side could conjure up too before they were hit on the break by Williams on 68 minutes.


Mark James was struggling to get to grips with City's dangerous front-two and after Bayliss had sent his strike-partner clean through, right-back Sam Pratt was left with too much ground to cover to thwart Williams, whose shot squirmed through the grasp of Luke Evans.


It was a devastating blow and one that looked to have taken the wind out of Frolesworth's already dwindling sails, but Cook once again gave his side a glimmer of hope with his fifth goal of the campaign 16 minutes from time after he converted a rebound off the post.


Frolesworth threw the kitchen sink at the hosts for the remainder of the contest, but they were once again hit with a sucker punch as substitute Dean Waldrom romped through United's gaping defence in the dying minutes to lob Evans and finally kill off the visitors' pitiful resistance.


The result now means that Frolesworth have been dumped out of both knockout cup competitions inside a month, leaving just the Arthur Moore Cup and league campaign on the agenda, although four successive away defeats remains a real concern for manager Harris.


And so, a trip to Garden Street to face bottom side Thurmaston WMP 2009 next week appears to be the perfect tonic as United seek to arrest their abysmal form on the road, although they will be forced to compete without both Jake Pantony and Martin Fennon, in addition to an ever-growing injury list that also includes Sam Green, Jack Rudman, Jack Sutherland and Dominic Ivens.


Another away defeat next week and United's premature promotion hopes may already be dashed and with a potential crisis perhaps dawning on the horizon as Christmas approaches at Dunley Way, will Harris stick with the 4-4-2 away from home or revert back to the 4-5-1, which he so adamantly employed last season?

However, if the Rabbits can stay within touching distance of the leading pack over Christmas, they might just have the perfect ammunition returning to give promotion a real assault in the New Year.






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