By Liam Moakes 22/03 Updated: 22/03 12:58
REDDITCH UNITED'S fine recent form came to a shuddering halt as they were beaten 4-0 by Frome Town at the Valley Stadium on Tuesday.
The result comes as a big setback to Graham Hyde's troops who had gone into the match on the back of a six-match unbeaten run and in the sort of form which saw them look well placed to go on and clinch their Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division survival.
However, the Somerset side well and truly put a spanner in the works as they withstood an excellent opening quarter from the Reds before emerging convincing winners.
United made a positive start and big striker Jimmy Deabill only narrowly failed to get what looked set to be a decisive touch on Sam Adkins' corner in the second minute.
Seven minutes later good hold-up play from Deabill saw him feed Stuart Hendrie on the right wing and from his excellent cross midfielder Joey Halsall powered in a header which saw the ball strike the crossbar and go over.
It was all Redditch at this stage and in the 12th minute Hendrie swung in a cross from the left from which Tesfa Robinson was disappointed to send a header wide.
However, it was Frome who took the lead against the run of play as a poor clearance out of defence by Jamie Grimes ended with the visitors launching another attack and, although Reds keeper Dean Coleman made a fine save to deny Dean Evans, Mike Perrott was on hand to convert the rebound from close range.
The goal rocked the hosts and soon afterwards Coleman had to save bravely at the feet of Evans and United were happy to see half time with just a one-goal deficit.
The first 20 minutes of the second half were scrappy and neither side looked particularly likely to add to the scoring.
Finally the Reds began to build up a head of steam and began to get balls into the Frome box and they came close to an equaliser in the 70th minute when Grimes' goalbound piledriver was blocked by a visiting defender who knew very little about it.
However, the stuffing was knocked out of Redditch two minutes later when Coleman - such a reliable performer between the sticks this season - somehow allowed a soft curling effort from Luke Ballinger to slip between his hands and into the top corner of the net.
Hendrie missed a chance to reduce the hosts' arrears four minutes later when he dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area after being set up by substitute Chris Russell's flick on.
The Reds were put out of their misery by Frome's third goal in the 80th minute when a long clearance by keeper Darren Chitty was not dealt with and Aaron Forde - one of United's better performers - hauled down substitute Ricky Hulbert as he was in on goal.
Referee Sian Massey was left with no alternative but to give Forde his marching orders and Josh Brigham blasted the resultant spot kick high into the top left corner.
Hulbert completed the rout three minutes later with a composed finish following Perrott's assist as the Reds simply crumbled.
Hyde will now have to pick his men up for another important match tomorrow when they host a Bashley side just two places and two points above them with seven games remaining.
The Reds, who remain a place and two points above the drop zone, had produced an excellent performance on Saturday as they earned a 0-0 draw at title-chasing AFC Totton.
Hendrie and Lee Osborne had both gone within a whisker of giving the visitors a deserved half time lead and it was Redditch who continued to have the better of things after the break.
The hosts' former Fulham keeper James Bittner then saved Forde's stinging drive as the game drew towards an exciting conclusion.
In a dramatic finale Totton substitute Jon Davies was thwarted by Coleman before at the other end substitute Russell was denied a stoppage time winner by another excellent stop from Bittner.
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