Home league match played on 04 May 2012.
Kicked off at 6:30 PM

Super sub Harry Simmons struck just four minutes from time as Frolesworth United bravely fought back from two goals down against newly-crowned champions Star & Garter to salvage a much-deserved point, although the result looks as though it won't be good enough to secure an automatic promotion spot for the Rabbits.


The striker stepped off the bench to bundle home his 12th goal of the campaign from close range following Callum Wills' low cross, after Filipino midfielder Dominic Ivens gave the hosts a glimmer of hope with his first goal of the season in the 72nd minute.


Star winger Kieren Linnett was dismissed shortly afterwards for an alleged stamp on Joe Cook, but the home side couldn't complete the turnaround in the final stages after George Himan's double gave the visitors a half-time lead.


The result means that second-placed Throops have clinched promotion with 32 points, but Sunbury United's 3-1 away win at FC Hoskins means they are now just two points behind Frolesworth in the third and final promotion place with two games still to play.


Nonetheless, the curtain was brought down on an impressive season for United in poignant fashion, as Simmons added to his blossoming reputation as Ben Harris' saviour to ensure United only suffered one home defeat in the league at their new Dunley Way home.



United went into the game knowing only a win would be good enough to keep their faint promotion hopes alive after last week’s enthralling 6-4 derby victory over Dunton & Broughton Rangers, but even then they would have to rely on other results going their way.



Harris made just two changes for the visit of table-topping Star, bringing back Josh van Allen at right-back alongside a back-four of Harvey Morgan, Nathan Bedford and Mark Baker instead of captain Mark James.



The Yorkshireman also learned from his side’s 4-0 defeat at Knighton Park a fortnight ago, opting for 4-4-2 instead of the recently employed 4-3-2-1 in an attempt to offer more in the way of an attacking threat.



He also took the gamble to employ Jack Boulton as a makeshift target man alongside Cook, following his late goal at Station Road with the midfield consisting of Wills, Ivens, Jake Pantony and Sam Young.



But it was the visitors who predictably began to assert themselves immediately from the off and with the extra man in midfield, they dominated possession in the early exchanges.


Stand-in skipper Sam Green was forced in to action inside 10 minutes following a poor kick, but he smothered himself at the feet of the advancing Jim Mee to thwart the striker.



Green has been an almost ever-present since his arrival in the summer and had it not been for a broken hand, it is likely he would have featured in every game this season and he had to be at full stretch soon after to turn Himan’s fizzing drive around the post.



But buoyed by reaching the half an hour mark without conceding, United themselves began to press and came close when Young’s free-kick was tipped over the crossbar.



Striker Cook has had his most prolific season in a claret shirt this year with 18 goals, but he was forced to feed off scraps and flick-ons from Boulton and he should’ve certainly added to his tally in the 36th minute when he latched onto Baker’s punt forward, but the former Coventry City man blazed over from close range with his weaker foot.



It was an open and entertaining clash as many at Steve Rendall Park had been this season, but it took a moment of sublime skill from a set-piece to break the deadlock just four minutes before the break.



Himan has been comfortably the division’s best player this season and instrumental in Star’s title winning team and he demonstrated his class with a stunning 25-yard free-kick, which flew into the far corner and left the rooted Green with little chance.



And still reeling from the opener, United would leave themselves with a mountain to climb in the second-half after the buzzing Himan caught Bedford napping from a cross and nipped in front of him to glance a header into the far corner for a staggering 50th league goal of the campaign.



United looked for an immediate response and once again they should have got it when Boulton got up well to head at goal, but under pressure he could only direct his header the wrong side of the crossbar after a teasing cross from Wills.



It was a frustrating opening half for Harris, whom too many times this season has cursed his side for missing chances and they were fortunate not to fall further behind immediately after the restart when Linnett thumped the crossbar with a powerful header.



But the Rabbits once again began to grow in confidence after their slice of fortune and orchestrated in midfield by the in-form Pantony and second-half substitute Max Jones, the home side began to put the visitors under real pressure.



It was only a matter of time before it paid dividends too and once again it came through the most unlikely of sources. Filipino playmaker Ivens has been at the heart of United’s midfield this season, but he has failed to find the net in 17 previous appearances until he reduced the arrears with just 18 minutes to play.



Ivens had moved out to the left-hand side to accommodate Jones, while Young had joined Cook up front at the break but equally as adept on either foot, Ivens moved the ball onto his supposedly weaker left foot before firing an unstoppable drive in to the far corer.



Ben Harris’ side have deservedly earned themselves a reputation as the comeback kids this season, after stunning late fightbacks against FC Hoskins, twice against local rivals Dunton & Broughton Rangers and also against Premier Division GT and his side’s chances of getting something from the game improved after the visitors were reduced to 10-men just moments later.



Having lost just one league game so far, Star weren’t used to being on the back foot and pressured by another vociferous crowd in LE17, forward Linnett completely lost his head and brought down the onrushing Cook with a high boot.



Referee Ryan O’Mahoney had no hesitation in reaching for his pocket and Harris had no hesitation in throwing caution to the wind, altering his system to 3-4-3 with Baker pushing on to the left of midfield and Wills joining a strike force of Cook and second-half substitute Simmons.



And unsurprisingly, Simmons’ introduction wreaked havoc amongst the Star backline as he immediately had a chance when defender Ross Lavin scrambled his effort off the goal-line, although the ball was adjudged to have already gone out for a Frolesworth corner.



From the ensuing set-piece, Pantony glanced a header across goal towards Simmons and unmarked, he could only divert the ball over when he looked destined to equalise.



But equalise he soon did, when Wills burst through from Green’s gargantuan kick forwards and he simply rolled the ball across for Simmons to calmly slot home and spark wild scenes on the touchline.



Still aware that a point wasn’t likely to be good enough, Frolesworth poured forward and had massive shouts for a penalty for handball waved away. It was the turn of the linesman to intervene shortly after, when he harshly adjudged Cook to be offside from Simmons’ flick-on when he appeared to have raced clean through.



Then in the dying seconds at the other end, Morgan brought down the escaping Mee with a desperate lunge, which left the visitors apoplectic when Mr. O’Mahoney refuted their penalty claims.



But as a pulsating encounter was brought to an end, both sides were content to settle for a share of the spoils in another entertaining clash, which summarised United’s season inside 90 breathtaking minutes.



The result meant that United finished their most successful season on 31 points, with nine wins, four draws and five defeats and boasting just one home league defeat at Fort Dunley, but in order to secure a top three finish they now require Sunbury United to fail to win in both of their remaining fixtures against struggling Thurmaston Progressive WMC and bottom side Glen Parva.



However, while the FA Intermediate Cup finalists' future remains in doubt, Premiership football may still be coming to Steve Rendall Park next season.



You Rabbits!







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