BROMSGROVE Sporting capped off a truly remarkable Midland League Division One season with a 5-0 victory over Lichfield City to earn their invincible status.
The league champions made it 33 wins out of a possible 38 today (Saturday) in front of 1,151 fans at the Victoria Ground who witnessed further history being made.
It looked as though the first half was going to see the sides locked at 0-0 but Chris Lloyd got the all-important goal to send the Rouslers on their way to victory a minute before the break.
Star striker Jason Cowley then made it 2-0 immediately after the interval before midfielder Liam Spink fired in the third to guarantee the three points.
But the hosts continued to press and a brace from substitute Andy Nicol closed the curtain down on the 2016/17 campaign and round off a resounding 5-0 victory.
Despite seeing FA Vase heartache in the semi-finals, Paul Smith’s men have shown great character to put that huge disappointment to bed and go on an incredible 20-game winning run since the turn of the New Year.
The victory also ensured Sporting have only dropped just ten points this season.
But like many a time this season, the Rouslers faithful were given a mediocre first half to watch as the hosts struggled to settle into any kind of rhythm, with John Pykett volleying over after two minutes following a mix-up between Joe Haines and City keeper James Lawson.
Aaron Roberts then sent a header over the bar minutes later from Lloyd’s corner before City’s lively midfielder Pavel Smiglieski saw an effort deflect wide after making some space for himself at the back post.
The visitors kept coming forward though in a bid to spoil Sporting’s unbeaten record with Josh Haston’s deflected shot needing safe hands from Neil Leech to prevent the horrible back spin from catching him out after 34 minutes.
And four minutes later Haston was involved again as he volleyed wide a free-kick delivered into the area by Haines.
But the move of the match came in the 42nd minute when Cowley released Pykett who fed the ball to the marauding Roberts, with the right-back drilling in a low cross which Cowley curled just wide of the far post.
With the half petering out, Sporting eventually got the breakthrough in fortuitous circumstances as Haines failed to shepherd the ball into touch, allowing Robbie Bunn to nip in and put the ball into the path of Pykett.
Pykett then arrowed a ball into the centre of goal where Lloyd was primed and ready to fire into the bottom corner to give the hosts the advantage.
And just a minute after the break it was 2-0 as Roberts whipped in a delicious ball in from the right which was met by the head of Cowley who diverted his effort into the far corner beyond a helpless Lawson.
However, the visitors would not lie down as Oliver Haywood sent a shot wide of the mark from the edge of the area before Hunt’s low drive was easily saved by Leech in the Sporting goal.
Haywood again proved to be the outlet for the visitors when on the hour mark he saw a free-kick and low shot from inside the area pushed away by Leech once more.
And those misses soon came back to haunt the visitors as Sporting made it 3-0 when Spink fired home from inside the area with his weaker right foot.
Then Cowley somehow failed to grab his second goal of the game after 73 minutes as the unmarked striker was unable to convert Bunn’s accurate ball into the box.
But it was not long until the Rouslers grabbed their fourth as Nicol latched on to a long upfield punt by Jack Wilson after 82 minutes before smashing the ball beyond a hapless Lawson.
And six minutes later it was 5-0 as Lawson dropped Roberts’ cross which allowed Nicol to fire home his second goal of the game.
However, Nicol will be scratching his head as to how he did not get a hat-trick as a flying save from Lawson, this coming after the City keeper fumbled Wilson’s cross, prevented the striker from making it 6-0 in injury time.