Home league match played on 03 April 2011.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM


A GALLANT and battling performance from Frolesworth United earnt them a much-deserved goalless draw with table toppers Perrin Rangers at The Warren on Sunday morning, as the Rabbits were forced to play over 45 minutes with just TEN men.

Assistant manager Jordan Halford, who was employed as the lone-striker due to the inexplicable absence of Joe Cook and Sam Young, was stretchered off shortly before half-time with a suspected repeat of lateral collateral ligament damage that he sustained two seasons ago.

The Rabbits were forced to play the entire second-half a man down as manager Ben Harris was unable to name any substitutes, but the hosts held on for a valuable point in what Harris would later describe as his side’s, ‘best performance of the season.’

Harris was without the services of stalwart defender Jack Boulton, who spent Mothering Sunday back home in Norfolk, as well as Martin Finnigan, who decided to miss the game to spend time with his girlfriend much to the annoyance of his team-mates.

Midfielders Joe Swanwick and Miles Splevings were also missing, as well as strikers Cook and Young, meaning Harris made a staggering five changes to the side that succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Niffy Rangers last weekend.

The Clarets lined up in an ultra-defensive 5-4-1 formation, with Martin Fennon employed as the sweeper behind Matt Pell, Mark James, captain Mark Baker and Jack Rudman. Steven Bottom returned to the midfield alongside talisman Jake Pantony, with youngsters Tom Stokes and Jack Sutherland either side, leaving Halford to fend for himself up front in just his third start of the campaign.

Officials from the Alliance League were present at Hall Park to award the visitors an official match ball for March’s team of the month award, but it was United that looked like they deserved that accolade as they shaded an edgy opening period.

Pantony was employed in a much more advanced role and he was once again the orchestrator in midfield as his lofted pass sent pacy winger Stokes through on goal after just 18 minutes, but he could only look on in despair as his cleanly-struck half-volley thumped back off the upright.

It was the third time in as many games that the dangerous youngster has been thwarted by the woodwork and Stokes would later be forced off the field for treatment, as he was the unfortunate recipient of a stray elbow to the face resulting in his nose streaming with blood.

The Rabbits came close again soon after, but Halford could only fire his volley over the crossbar on the turn after Sutherland’s corner was cleared to the edge of the box.

It was a difficult chance admittedly, but he would have been disappointed that he didn’t give his side the lead with a slightly better opening on 36 minutes. Sutherland once again broke free on the left and after cutting the ball back to Pantony; Halford arrived late at the back post but could only tamely head his bouncing cross straight at the goalkeeper from six yards.

But he wouldn’t have much time to rue his missed opportunity, as it would be another incident that would leave him cursing his luck just four minutes before the break.

After attempting to flick Luke Evans’ goal-kick onwards, the lanky front-man landed awkwardly on his left knee in front of the dugout and immediately yelped in pain amidst fears that he had once again ruptured a partial tear in his lateral collateral ligament.

X-rays at Leicester Royal Infirmary would later reveal that his tibia hadn’t been fractured, but the full extent of the injury remains unclear.

But in spite of being reduced to 10-men at the break, the Rabbits refused to give up the ghost and were forced to defend for almost the entirety of the second-half. They even had a couple of half-chances themselves, with Sutherland, Stokes and once again Pantony leading the charge.

But it would be goalkeeper Evans that would truly earn his stripes and claim a well-deserved Man of the Match award with remarkably his first ever clean sheet in between the posts, after he superbly out-jumped the Rangers attack to claim a cross deep into stoppage time and ultimately secure a fantastic point for the hosts.

Harold Wilson once famously quoted, ‘A week is a long time in politics,’ but that is certainly true for football as well, as United put behind them a dismal display at Horsewell Lane last week to frustrate the league leaders and the staggering statistic remains that no team who has won Team of the Month has won their following match.

Manager Harris now faces a nigh-on impossible task of choosing his starting XI for the visit of fellow high-flyers Sparta Moshdock on Friday night, as Frolesworth play their final ever game at the Warren under the floodlights at 7pm.

Will he stick with the nucleus of the side that kept the division’s pace-setters at bay, or opt to bring back the cavalry in search of a much-needed three points?

Roll on Moshdock.


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