**FROLESWORTH UNITED 1-5 GLEN PARVA**
FROLESWORTH United’s feint promotion hopes were given a harsh reality check and were surely extinguished this morning, after their worst display of the season saw them thumped by in-form Glen Parva in their own back yard.
Manager Ben Harris said, “The performance simply wasn’t good enough,” after some calamitous defending and below-par finishing was the recipe for a disappointing and ultimately passionless display.
Harris made the short journey back from Nottingham after missing last week’s hard-earned point at Cleansing Services, whilst Assistant Jordan Halford made the arduous trip from East Sussex after being discharged from hospital on Tuesday afternoon and resuming light training.
The Rabbits’ preparations were interrupted by the withdrawal of Martin Finnigan, who cited personal problems for his absence and were also without the services of Jack Sutherland, who is currently in New York celebrating his 18th birthday, whilst Mark James was missing through injury.
Chairman Josh Baines deputised for Finnigan and Adam Tester returned to the back four with Harris choosing to partner Sam Palmer up front with captain Joe Cook, meanwhile, Miles Splveings returned to the bench alongside Matt Pell after recovering from a groin strain.
But Frolesworth were unusually slow to start and fell behind as early as the second minute. Desolate defending allowed the Polish Parva striker to easily climb above the United defence and head through the weak hands of Luke Evans.
It was only the second time in ten games that the Clarets hadn’t opened the scoring and their response came after ten minutes through Greg Garner, who exchanged a one-two with Steven Bottom on the edge of the area before his low drive was tipped around the post.
Palmer then mis-hit wide after Jake Pantony’s pass, but Parva’s goal wouldn’t lead a charmed life for much longer and Cook hauled the hosts back on level terms in the 15th minute.
He dispatched a delicious, curling free kick beyond the grasp of the visiting keeper from the edge of the box and chalked his eighth goal in just nine appearances in the process.
But it proved to be Frolesworth’s only positive as they soon shattered all of their hard work and became architects of their own downfall in a bizarre ten-minute spell. Evans had to be on his toes to tip a header over the crossbar moments later, but the visitors nudged themselves in front in the 26th minute.
The Clarets’ defensive frailties were further underlined when they failed to evacuate their area after Baines cleared a corner and a simple long-ball was enough to cause havoc as Frolesworth fell behind for the second time.
Palmer’s bad luck would continue three minutes later, when a surging run from Tester sent Bottom in behind on the left and his pull-back was met with a superb volley from the front man, but it was blocked en route to goal.
However, there was nothing unlucky about Parva’s third goal in the 38th minute after Baines completed Frolesworth’s self-destruction.
The makeshift left-winger and major shareholder needlessly lunged in, two-footed from behind and referee Gary Baker had no option but to point to the spot. Parva duly converted from twelve yards and left Harris with it all to do in the dressing room at half time.
Cook had the chance to restore parity before the break, but he saw his one-on-one smothered and drove straight down the throat of the keeper after a cheeky nutmeg, either side of Baker waving away a stonewall penalty for handball.
But in the first minute of the second period, Harris’ words of wisdom were thrown straight out of the window when further soft defending put the game firmly out of United’s reach.
Parva were allowed to take a short corner before a trickling drive was sent through Pantony’s legs and into the far corner to sum up the hosts’ misfortune.
16-year-old striker Splevings was then introduced just shy of the hour as Frolesworth prepared to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at the visitors and the teenage sensation should have scored moments later, but he could only fire into the legs of the goalkeeper.
Palmer could then only head straight at the Parva stopper from close range after more magic from Garner on the right and Cook flashed an effort across the face of goal in the 67th minute, but no one was on hand at the back stick to convert the captain’s cross.
The skipper tamely poked into the arms of the keeper in the 75th minute after a galloping run from Jack Rudman, but it was the best the hosts could muster and they were hit with a sucker punch with ten minutes to play, as Parva began to ridicule their opponents.
Another long ball found its way into a vacant Frolesworth penalty area and Evans was beaten at his near post from close range to condemn the Rabbits to their third successive home defeat.
Harris billed this fixture as a test of his side’s promotion aspirations, but on this evidence he should focus on preventing his side slipping through the division’s trap door and he will undoubtedly be concerned with having won just one of five games at the Warren so far this season.
Thankfully for him, his side face a trip to struggling Horse next Sunday, who were decimated 8-0 by local rivals Trinity Old Boys last time out.
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