**FROLESWORTH UNITED 7-1 LEICESTER ACADEMICALS**
FROLESWORTH United made the perfect start to 2011, as fans’ favourite and last season’s players’ player Greg Garner returned to the Warren to set the Rabbits on their way to their biggest ever win.
Garner came off the bench at the break and scored within 7 minutes of his homecoming to put the home side 2-1 in front, and it set the ball rolling as Harris’ side ran rampant and hit seven to climb out of the division’s relegation zone.
Callum Riley gave the home side the lead, before Academicals made things all-square at the break. But goals from Luke Evans, Matt Rains, Liam Barratt and super-sub Miles Splevings ensured the points would remain at Hall Lane.
United were originally scheduled to face high-flying Perrin Rangers in the Quarter-Final of the F.A Intermediate Cup, but the game was re-arranged with less than 24 hours notice due to the hosts being under investigation for fielding ineligible players.
Rangers incidentally lost 4-3 to struggling Horse, whilst ground staff at the Warren were forced to pour boiling water over the goalmouths in a frantic attempt to get the game ahead.
To the hosts’ relief, referee Mike Kneafsey, who had sent captain Mark Baker off earlier in the season, passed the pitch as fit meaning that Frolesworth would play just their fifth league game of the season.
Thankfully for Harris, he had a paucity of attacking options at his disposal. For the first time this campaign he was able to name five substitutes, even without the services of Jack Boulton, who arrived back late from Norfolk, Chris Bradshaw, who was on his honeymoon in the Mauritius and Dan Morrow, who was on duty for the County.
Daniel Herring returned from Plymouth Argyle to make his first start of the season for the Clarets and Rains came in for Jack Rudman at left-back. Jake Pantony was relocated alongside Evans to accommodate Joe Cook behind Riley, as Barratt and Luke Pontin were employed on either flank.
Riley also became the first ever Rabbit to wear a snood in the freezing conditions, but it took him 21 minutes to warm up before he gave the home side the lead. And what a goal it was, too.
Evans, Cook and Barratt all combined nicely on the right-hand side, before centre-half Herring shanked the ball skywards. But Riley didn’t give up on it, and the former England Schoolboys international elegantly controlled the ball before volleying it across to Pantony.
United’s top-scorer controlled the ball with his thigh, before back-heeling it into the path of Riley who stabbed home in to the far corner. The two later said it was luck, but from the stands, it wasn’t. Pure class.
Frolesworth struggled to gather momentum after that though, and the lead lasted just eight minutes. Herring this time failed to clear a cross in to the box, and as the deflection looped up into the air, the opposing striker was left unmarked to glance a header past the helpless Errington.
And the visitors remained largely untroubled before the break, too, Rains’ 30-yard pile-driver the closest United came to edging in front again, but it was well-tipped over.
However, in spite of being booed off the pitch, Harris remained calm in the dressing room and instructed his players not to hit the panic button. In an attempt to change his side’s fortunes, he made one change, albeit enforced replacing the injured Cook with Garner.
And it was an inspired replacement, as it took him just seven minutes to give United the lead in front of the Nursery End. Garner picked the ball up in the opposing half, before embarking on one of his trademark jinking runs. He exchanged passes with Pontin, before dancing his way through the visitors’ defence and he trickled the ball in with the aid of a deflection.
It was just what United, and indeed Harris needed and they added two more in a seven-minute goal spree. Evans converted Barratt’s pull-back just three minutes later, before left-back Rains made it four with an unbelievable scissor-kick from Riley’s centre just before the hour.
Rains then turned provider in the 77th minute, launching one over the top for Barratt to latch onto and calmly dispatch and Academicals had been hit for six just two minutes later when Baker this time sent one over the top for Garner, who coolly rounded the keeper and slotted home.
Harris sent Splevings on with ten minutes to play to try and get in on the act, and the pacy youngster duly obliged, gambling on Pontin’s through ball and tucking it neatly into the far corner.
Frolesworth’s second-half display was simply irresistible, inspired largely by Garner who is now available until the start of March. He was a breath of fresh air, just like a new signing and Harris also has Luke Hammond to welcome back from injury too.
On this evidence, the Rabbits are a match for anyone, a blossoming indication of the potential this side really has. At the dawn of a new decade, the horizon suddenly looks bright over the Warren.
FROLESWORTH: ERRINGTON 7, RAINS 8 (MOM), BAKER 7, HERRING 7, JAMES 7, EVANS 7, PANTONY 7, PONTON 7, BARRATT 7, RILEY 7. SUBS: GARNER 8, SPLEVINGS 7, PELL 6.
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