A damp squib but an important point nonetheless for leaders Leamington
A goalless stalemate was the correct result from a dour contest played out on a miserably wet afternoon in Frome, but nevertheless it represents another point on the board for Leamington in their quest for promotion, writes Paul Edwards.
It was a second successive no score draw down in Somerset against a Robins side who are always tough to play against on their own patch, packing their defence and restricting space.
The conditions were not exactly conducive to flowing football, with the greasy surface catching the players out more than once over the course of the afternoon and goalscoring chances were at a premium.
The hosts asked questions in flashes during the first half but only threatened Tony Breeden’s goal on a couple of occasions, while in turn Leamington were unable to find a way through to home custodian Kyle Phillips.
There were a couple of wayward efforts early on for the hosts before Ollie Knight forced Breeden into a good save down at his near post.
Mike Bryant later looked to be in on goal as the ball deflected through to him, only to snatch at his shot and fire well wide.
Frome were the busier side but Leamington came more into the game midway through the first half and Ahmed Obeng hit the post after Courtney Baker-Richardson and debutant Richard Gregory flicked the ball on to him on the right inside the penalty area.
In the second half, Clayton Green got a touch on Rob Thompson-Brown’s shot from outside the box, deflecting the ball through to Phillips.
Frome had a shot lifted on to the roof of the net as they got a rare sight of goal, while Green put another solid block in as Obeng shaped to shoot.
Gregory endured a frustrating first appearance in a Brakes shirt, with little to feed off, but he worked hard and saw a half-chance fly wide from Baker-Richardson’s cross as Leamington applied late pressure.
Callum Gittings kept his footing well, darting between two challenges to slip a pass through for Baker-Richardson who was thwarted by keeper Phillips as well as the offside flag, which had seen plenty of action during the 90 minutes.
A point at a Frome side who seem to improve every season is by no means a bad result and Leamington now have a rare free midweek to prepare for the trip to Kings Langley on Saturday.
Paul Holleran was happy to take the positives from a game which saw his side bereft of key players, saying: “Having some effective players missing today was one thing.
“If those players had been available I would probably not have made Courtney (Baker-Richardson) and Joe (Magunda) travel as they have both been suffering from illness, so credit to them that they’ve not only travelled but put in good performances, too.
“To go to a place which is tough to go at the best of times, it wasn’t a pretty spectacle, it was difficult to play through the pitch as it was, the players were struggling with their footing and I just thought we showed great desire and I thought that defensively throughout the afternoon we were very solid.
“To put it all in perspective, it’s a good point.
“We’ve had two tough away games, Dunstable and Frome and come away with two clean sheets and four points.
“It would have been nice to get that bit of quality - I thought it was coming second half.
“We got Callum and Robbie on the ball a little bit more and we just needed that right decision at the right time - it didn’t quite happen.
“You look at the players we were missing today and we’ll get stronger.
“You might look back at points like this one later in the season and realise they were good ones.
“The clear midweek has come at the perfect time for us.”
Holleran also paid tribute to the fans who made the journey down to Somerset, adding: “I’d like to especially thank the fans that travelled down today just before Christmas on a horrendous day.
“They were really vocal and to say that we appreciate their support is an understatement.”
Frome Town: Kyle Phillips, Kriss Miller, Sam Teale, Connor Roberts, Marcus Mapstone, Clayton Green, Jon Davies, George Miller, Jake Jackson, Mickey Bryant (Dean Griffiths, 75), Ollie Knight.Subs not used: Chris Gregan, Nathan Summers, Ben Cleverley, Josh Jefferies.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Magunda, Dan Preston, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Callum Gittings, Richard Gregory (Ben George, 78), Rob Thompson-Brown, Ahmed Obeng. Subs not used: Tom James, Nathan Olukanmi, Ryan Quinn, Martyn Naylor.