After a crisis week that saw Frome’s manager and two senior players resigning, Frome just about managed to get a squad together to travel to Hitchin, but the match was a predictably one sided affair and Hitchin ran out easy 5-1 winners, with Josh Brace getting a consolation goal for Frome right at the end.
With manager Josh Jeffries, goalkeeper Kyle Phillips and playmaker and top scorer Jon Davies having departed during the week, and with injuries, suspension and other commitments all coming into play, Frome just managed to put eleven players on the pitch, with Sam Teale taking over the interim manager role from his lonely position on the substitute bench.
Goalkeeper Carl Crabtree was busy right from the start as Hitchin went straight for the jugular, and a clearance off the line in the 4th followed by Patrick Tshikala hitting the underside of the Frome bar in the 9th showed their intentions, and with Tshikal going close in the 14th and Carbtree saving from Connor Vincent in the the 19th the match was becoming a one way affair.
After Ben Walster had gone close in the 29th and Crabtree had produced a peach of a save to tip a Matt Spring shot over, Josh Bickerstaff put a header just wide in the 34th and eventaully the pressure told in the 36th as an under-hit back pass was latched onto by Tshikala who drew Crabtree before squaring the ball to Trey Charles who finished with ease.
Despite Hitchin going close again several times in the remaining time before the interval, Frome managed to hang on and the 1-0 scoreline did not really reflect the dominance of the home side.
The second half started badly for Frome as Connor Roberts got a touch to a left wing cross that took it past Crabrtree for an own goal that made the score 2-0 to Hitchin, and despite Joe Raynes testing Michael Johnson from 25 yards, HItchin went straight back up the other end and Tshikala crossed for Charles to tap in to make it 3-0 in the 51st.
George MIller sent a shot just wide for Frome in the 54th, but it was 4-0 in the 58th as Connor Vincent let fly from distance a shot that crept under the body of Crabtree and despite Frome having enough possession to let fly with a few shots from distance, they struggled to find a way back into the game and Hitchin hammered home their dominance with their fifth goal in the 75th as substitute Hugo Logan waltzed through the Frome defence to score with ease.
Frome did get a consolation goal in the 91st as Raynes found Josh Brace with some space and he did well at the far post to beat Johnson, but then the player crisis got even worse as Ollie Knight was shown a second yellow for handball after getting one earlier for dissent and will presumably pick up a one match ban.
Mitchell Page was chosen for the H&B Tyres Man of the Match Award on a day which was more about fulfilling the fixture than getting a result.