Frome Town (0) 1 Bath City (1) 2 – Tuesday 21 March 2023 – Somerset Premier Cup Semi-Final – Badgers Hill
Match Report by Mark Stillman.
Goals from Cody Cooke and Scott Wilson guided Bath City to the Somerset Premier Cup Final for a second successive year.
The lethal front men proved too much for a luckless Frome side who lost four players to injury, including Tyler Ashmead just 20 seconds after coming on at half-time.
After James Ollis withdrew it left the Robins down to 10 men, with City also playing the closing stages a man down after Tom Smith’s senseless red card.
By then Sam Jones had pulled one back on debut but despite a late rally the Romans secured a spot against Paulton Rovers in May.
Frome, 48 places below City in the pyramid, were aided by a strong wind behind them in the first half, but did little to test Max Harris with their packed defence also giving little away.
Eventually they were breached on 32 minutes with a superbly worked goal. Dan Hayfield’s trickery on the right sent Opi Edwards away, his telling centre was neatly flicked home by Cooke via the post.
Cooke fired over and had a decent shout for a penalty turned down when Pierce Mitchell appeared to haul him to the floor in an eventful conclusion to the half.
Having already replaced Tyson Pollard with Sam Meakes, Frome boss Danny Greaves took the injured Mitchell off at the break for Ashmead.
The manager was left concerned when Ashmead went down swiftly after the interval following an innocuous tussle which clearly left him clearly in agony. Following a five minute delay with assistance from three physios, he was carried off.
It understandably affected a Frome side already ravaged with injury and their evening got worse by conceding a second just shy of the hour.
The home makeshift defence conceded possession 25 yards out and Wilson stepped inside before shooting through the legs of Matt Wood and past the despairing dive of Seth Locke.
Joe Raynes returned against his former club midway through the half for his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury on Boxing Day.
Former City academy player Ollis was forced to come off with 13 minutes remaining after a collision from a corner which left Town down to 10, and it appeared the closing stages would be a near training exercise for Bath who knocked the ball around effortlessly with Frome understandably wary of picking up further knocks.
A sudden burst of urgency saw the hosts unexpectedly pull one back on 87 minutes.
Substitute Sam Meakes played the ball across to fellow replacement Sam Jones who struck first time through the body of Harris to set up a tense finale for Gill’s side.
In a largely well-mannered game, City then lost Smith to a crazy red card after he kicked out at Owen Humphries on halfway with referee Andrew Hobbs having no option but to dismiss the midfielder.
Frome sensed a stunning recovery and sent Locke forward for corners, with Jack Batten hooking the ball away before the keeper could finish off one of George Rigg’s dangerous deliveries.
A leveller didn’t arrive as the Romans clinched a place in the final for a second year running, the first time they’ve reached back-to-back Somerset Premier Cup finals since 1994-1995 when Gill featured in both as a player.
City’s Line-Up: Harris, Dyer, Batten (c), Hayfield (Raynes 67), Cooke (Cox HT), Smith, Frear, Spokes, Wilson, Morton, Edwards (Lines 60). Subs not used: Clarke, Greenslade.
Scorers: City – Cooke (31), Wilson (58); Frome – Jones (88)
City Bookings: none
City Dismissal: Smith (90+2)
Officials: A Hobbs, W Payne, K Rodd