Away league match played on 11 March 2012.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

ANOTHER Jack Sutherland brace, his second in just three games, sent Frolesworth United top of the table after a hard-fought 3-1 win against struggling Horse at Knighton Park on a beautiful spring morning.


Joint top-scorer Callum Wills returned to the starting line-up to fire Frolesworth ahead midway through the first half, before David Morgan headed the hosts level against the run of play.


But Sutherland volleyed the Rabbits back in front just three minutes later, before wrapping up another precious three points on the road with a wonderful solo run four minutes from time to send Ben Harris' side to the Division One summit for the first time in their history.


United travelled to Knighton Park off the back of their first home defeat of the season, a 3-1 reversal at the hands of fellow promotion chasers Throops in the Arthur Moore Cup Group C, but their last league defeat was way back on November 27th 2011.


And Harris made just two enforced changes for the trip to Wigston, replacing the unavailable Jack Boulton with new signing Ben Hallam at left-back and welcoming back 18-year-old Callum Wills at the expense of Martin Fennon, meaning Joe Cook dropped into the right-hand side of midfield.


But Frolesworth, who had beaten Horse twice already this season, began tentatively as they attempted to stroke the ball round on a difficult surface. They did, however, take the lead with their first meaningful attack, although they had to wait until the 26th minute to break the deadlock.


Midfield talisman Jake Pantony won the Rabbits’ golden boot with 13 last season, but incredibly, the little number 8 is yet to open his account this campaign, though he looked back to his best with a commanding performance in the heart of the midfield.


And it was his delightful pass, which set free Wills to dance around two floundering Horse defenders and stroke home his 12th of the season with a powerful left-footed drive at the near post.


He should have doubled his tally soon after, too, when he latched onto Sutherland’s flick-on, but he could only fire his first effort at the keeper before his second attempt was scrambled clear on the goal-line.


And typically, the hosts hit back completely against the run of play after Dominic Ivens’ pass sold Sutherland short, enabling Mike Tuxford to cross for the unmarked Morgan to level with a diving header seven minutes before the break.


United’s response was immediately forthcoming though, this time through the dangerous Sutherland, who latched on to Hallam’s weighted pass before firing a vicious drive narrowly wide.


He would make no mistake with his next chance though, as he restored Frolesworth’s lead just three minutes later. Cook’s near-post corner was only diverted high into the air and the former Scunthorpe United man steadied himself before timing a sweetly struck volley to perfection from close range.


Harris knew the result still hung in the balance at half-time and his nerves would be left in tatters on the touchline as Frolesworth began to stutter after the break with Morgan again going close after unleashing a powerful half-volley, which clipped the top of Sam Green’s crossbar.


The 18-year-old goalkeeper has been one of Frolesworth’s most consistent performers this season and has won many admirers following a string of fine stops, but he kept United in front with the save of the season so far when he was at full stretch to somehow claw away a sublime curling effort, which was destined for the top corner.


Matters weren’t helped before the hour-mark either, following an altercation between the Frolesworth bench and referee Sean McConnell, who inexplicably threatened to prevent the visitors from making any substitutes and after a blatant offside flag was ignored on the near side, assistant manger Jordan Halford threatened to withdraw his players from the pitch.


This provoked an intervention from the Horse skipper and the dispute was resolved soon after, meaning United were able to introduce new-signing Nathan Bedford up front and he nearly scored with his first touch, but his shot on the turn found the midriff of the goalkeeper.


It looked as though Frolesworth had weathered the storm, but Harris knew his side needed a third to completely kill the game and his side were punished last week for missing a glut of chances. He would have been forgiven for thinking history was going to repeat itself, too, when Sutherland’s long-drive was fumbled by the goalkeeper and he somehow managed to prevent the ball from crossing the line with his flailing feet.


He went agonisingly close again soon after, as he diverted Ivens’ powerful drive but it trickled past the post with the goal at his mercy. Still, United continued to plug away and Hallam, who impressed throughout as a makeshift left-back, nearly opened his account in Frolesworth colours when his powerful drive flew inches past the upright.


But with just four minutes remaining on the clock, the Rabbits finally put the game to bed courtesy of Sutherland, who somehow wriggled free of the Horse defence before prodding home his second goal of the afternoon to give Frolesworth their fourth successive league win and propel them to the top of the table.


It wasn’t a vintage display from Harris’ side and he knows United will have to be much better when they face their toughest test of the season so far, against either Star & Garter or Throops in a fortnight’s time, but this is a game that Frolesworth might not have won in season’s past.


A blossoming indication, if the league table was not anyway, that United have made great strides this season. But with seven league games remaining and a hugely difficult run-in, Harris will know his side have won nothing yet.


The prize of promotion still looms and the hard work must start here.






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