Southam United 1 Bromsgrove Sporting 3
Midland League, Division One
WITH Coventry United champions, barring a mathematical improbability, Sporting just needed to play the season out and finish on a high note.
Unfortunately, Southam United, although rooted to the bottom of the table, were in no mood to give the Rouslers an easy time and defended doggedly in numbers.
In the opening few minutes, Sporting tried to play neat football by swift and accurate passing but this proved to be difficult on an uneven pitch and using the flanks and high balls into the box rapidly became the tactic of choice.
Aaron Roberts and Liam Spink put good efforts over the bar while Reece Hewitt hit the post on 18 minutes but it was Jack Wilson at left-back who broke the deadlock on the 22nd minute when his powerful header hit the back of the net after Will Tibbetts got behind the defensive line to put over a deadly accurate cross.
Seven minutes later Sporting doubled their advantage and this time Wilson was the provider with a cross from the left that Tibbetts flicked on to Roberts who took a couple of steps before firing an angled low drive into the left-hand corner of Matt Archer’s net.
Tony Zamora had the best effort of the first half for the home side with a half-volley from 20 yards that Chris Jay comfortably gathered but with all of Southam’s effort going into defence, chances of reducing the lead were minimal.
However, Sporting were unable to convert their dominance into more goals and they remained 2-0 at the interval.
Four minutes into the second period, Bromsgrove added to the score sheet with a rare but powerful Hewitt header that gave Archer no chance.
Southam then managed to get on the score sheet through the hard-working Zamora who lobbed Jay from 20 yards after intercepting a poor back pass.
Manager Paul Smith then brought on three substitutes all from the under-21s team to give the youngsters a taste of first team football but no more goals came.
Craig Jones had a couple disallowed for offside while Dean Fisher’s effort was stopped by the post after Archer got a touch and credit to the home ‘keeper who made several good stops, writes Phil Baker
With Coventry United clocking up their eighth successive victory, they now have a six-point lead with two games left and a far superior goal-difference.
Miracles do happen but not on this occasion and in all probability Sporting will have to settle for the runners-up trophy for the third year in succession.
Sporting return to action tomorrow night with an away trip to Bolehall Swifts (7.45pm KO).