**SHAKESPEARE INN 1-3 FROLESWORTH UNITED**
FROLESWORTH United returned to winning ways in the Alliance League Division One for the first time since November 22nd and gave chairman Josh Baines the perfect send off before his 10-week American adventure.
A brace from tricky winger Gregory Garner, either side of Luke Hammond’s first goal for the Rabbits clinched United’s fourth away win in all competitions this season and moved them three points clear of the division’s trapdoor.
Control was once again relinquished to Jordan Halford and the temporary manager was forced into two changes from the side that slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of high-flying Glen Parva a fortnight ago.
He welcomed back the talismanic Jake Pantony, who was handed the armband in the absence of recognised skipper Craig Rowbottom and striker Hammond returned to partner Miles Splevings in attack with Joe Cook being asked to play a deeper role in midfield.
But Frolesworth’s preparations were once again scuppered in a similar fashion to last season and kick-off was delayed by half an hour after several United players and the manager himself were lost en route to Shakespeare Park.
When the game finally got underway, Frolesworth were predictably slow to start and keeper Matt Errington was forced into a smart save low to his left to deny striker Ryan Brightmore.
Neither side could gain a foothold in the game in particularly difficult conditions, but United really rubbed salt into the hosts’ wounds when they took the lead just past the half hour.
Pantony was once again instrumental at the hub of everything Halford’s side conjured in attack and it was his sumptuous ball over the top that enabled Garner to prod home past the advancing keeper.
The boys in claret went into the break a goal to the good, but it wasn’t to last as the home side hit back immediately after the restart. Striker Ashley Crane eluded several challenges before his effort took a deflection off Steven Bottom and wrong-footed the helpless Errington.
United’s response came through Pantony, but he sent his delicate effort just the wrong side of the upright after a dazzling run had tangled the legs of three Shakespeare defenders, shortly before Hammond had blazed over from Cook’s intelligent quick free kick.
However, it was only a brief respite for the visitors as Shakespeare once again began to turn the screw and they were fortunate to remain on levels terms when Crane had somehow contrived to miss from inside the six-yard box after an awkward cross from the left was misjudged by Errington and cannoned off the underside of the crossbar.
Lady luck appeared to be smiling down on Frolesworth once again moments later, when Jack Rudman was perilously close to an own-goal after he sliced over his own crossbar.
However, sensing his side had dodged the proverbial bullet, Halford wasn’t content with a point and sent on Joe Wilson and makeshift target man Luke Evans in place of Matt Pell and Martin Finnigan respectively, in search of an elusive three points and the change had an instant impact as Frolesworth hit their hosts with a sucker punch.
Once again it was Pantony who was coursing through Frolesworth veins and he slipped an inch-perfect ball through to Hammond, who confidently dispatched his first goal for the club with less than 15 minutes remaining.
And the three points were wrapped up eight minutes from time, when Garner pounced on a rebound from Hammond’s low drive and gleefully steered home from close range.
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