**FROLESWORTH UNITED 0-1 SPARTA PARVA**
ANOTHER goalkeeping howler, from Matt Errington this time, meant that a battling Frolesworth United side suffered a cup upset at the hands of unbeaten Division Four leaders Spata Parva at the Warren on Sunday morning.
Errington lost the flight of a routine free-kick and spilled it in the 14th minute to gift the visitors the opener, and they rode their luck as the Rabbits missed a clutch of chances to crash out at the first hurdle.
Manager Ben Harris made four changes from the side that cruised to a 5-2 victory against White Lion last week, moving Mark James to right-back to accommodate returning stalwart defender Jack Boulton.
Steven Bottom replaced Chris Capell, who will miss the rest of the season following a clean break of his tibia and Chairman Josh Baines made his first bow of the season on the left in place of the unavailable Dan Morrow.
Chris Bradshaw replaced Luke Evans as the lone-striker, but United struggled to get going early on and were caught cold in the 14th minute. Left-back Martin Finnigan conceded a needless free-kick midway in the home side’s half and Errington was completely blinded by the low sun.
He could only drop the ball at the feet of the opposing striker, who couldn’t believe his luck and duly gave the Division Four minnows the lead. The second time in just three weeks that a goalkeeping mistake has proven to cost the Country Boys dearly.
But from then on, it was almost one-way traffic as the hosts attempted to claw their way back into the tie. Bradshaw raced clear just before the half-hour mark, but he could only loop his effort over the crossbar, a great chance by his own admission.
The lone-striker was isolated up front, but he still looked the most likely to haul Frolly level and he turned to shoot just before the break, but it was turned away when it looked as though his shirt was being pulled.
Harris sent his charges out in the second-half in search of the elusive leveller, but instructed his side not to press the panic button if it wasn’t immediately forthcoming and they started in a much more positive manner.
The ball fell invitingly to Bradshaw in the penalty area shortly after the restart, but the chance was snuffed out as he attempted to turn onto his favourable left-foot before trying to assist Joe Cook and then, Joe Swanwick.
The front man then nodded into the path of the onrushing Baines, whose powerful left-footed effort took a slight deflection as the ball flashed just the wrong side of the upright.
Try as they might, the Clarets just couldn’t breach the visitors’ resistance and with Baines proving the most unlikely of tormentors, Frolesworth would equally as surprisingly pass up two fantastic opportunities to take the game into extra time.
Firstly, it would be Cook who would curse his luck as after some terrific work on the opposite flank from Baines. He brought the ball down from the sky, before beating his opponent and sending a sumptuous cross to the far post, which Cook met with a towering header.
But to his and the rest of Hall Park’s astonishment, it somehow cannoned off the foot of one post, before spiralling agonisingly across goal and hitting the other and the rebound sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
Harris might be forgiven for thinking it was going to be one of those days, but with 25 minutes to play his side threw away another golden opportunity. It was Swanwick this time running beyond the striker and he found himself with the goal at his mercy when the Parva defence were caught napping.
But it was almost as if he had too many options to choose from and plumping for the lob, his touch was too heavy and the ball drifted over the crossbar, along with United’s hopes of getting back into the game.
Harris sent on Evans in place of Swanwick, who was still visibly frustrated with his miss when he returned to the bench, but the visitors had rode the storm and they greeted the full-time whistle with jubilant scenes.
United welcome Hardy and Draper Carpets Division One strugglers AFC Countryman to the Warren on Sunday, whose latest success was a 2-1 victory against bottom side Ullesthorpe, with a place in the last 16 of the county’s most prestigious cup competition up for grabs.
And assistant manager Jordan Halford will be especially keen to return to winning ways, as he will lock horns with many of his former Hinckley United team-mates.
FROLESWORTH: ERRINGTON 5, JAMES 5, BAKER 7, BOULTON 7, FINNIGAN 5, SWANWICK 6, BOTTOM 6, COOK 6, PANTONY 6, BAINES 7 (MOM), BRADSHAW 6. SUBS: PELL 6.
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