JASON COWLEY scored a stunning free-kick as Bromsgrove Sporting eased to a 3-0 win at South Normanton Athletic to consolidate second in the Midland League Premier Division table.
The striker curled home a stunning effort from outside the area into the top right-hand corner to give the visitors a ninth-minute lead.
John Pykett, who had replaced the injured Wade Malley midway through the first half, doubled Sporting’s lead after 67 minutes before Liam Spink’s penalty completed the scoring three minutes later.
After playing Sporting Khalsa, Coventry United and Lye Town over the last three weeks, coming away with seven points from a possible nine, boss Paul Smith stressed complacency could not creep in against their Derbyshire hosts.
And Athletic would consider themselves unlucky not to go ahead after just seven minutes but Antonio Wedderburn’s free-kick from the edge of the area went straight at Brendon Bunn.
But two minutes later Cowley showed Wedderburn how to take the perfect set-piece.
After winning the free-kick 25 yards from goal, Cowley then bent the ball over the wall and into the far corner, beyond the outstretched right arm of Athletic keeper Darren Keeling.
— Tom F (@TFuszard) September 30, 2017
Ten minutes later Cowley came close to doubling the visitors’ lead after being played through on goal by Robbie Bunn but the lively striker could only curl his effort wide after cutting inside.
A fine save with his legs by Keeling then denied Reece Hewitt from making it 2-0 in the 21st minute while Luke Crosby fired a free-kick over the bar for the Shiners up the other end 14 minutes later.
Just moments later Josh Quaynor hit the side-netting after connecting with Pykett’s cross at the back post before Bunn came close to adding Sporting’s second in stoppage time but his drilled effort drifted agonisingly wide of the far post.
Ten minutes after the interval Wedderburn saw his free-kick on the edge of the area saved well by Bunn and with the rain pouring down, the hosts began to settle.
However, they were dealt a sucker-punch in the 67th minute when Pykett doubled Sporting’s lead.
After cutting inside from the right, he drilled a shot towards goal which hit the back of the net with the help of a slight deflection.
Three minutes later Pykett then earned Sporting a penalty after he was brought down in the area, much to the frustration of the Shiners, and up-stepped Liam Spink to fire the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
But Athletic continued to fight and they almost pulled a goal back seven minutes later but unfortunately for David Leigh, nobody was able to pick up the pieces after his low free-kick from 18 yards out was spilt by Bunn.
And from the resulting corner Jean Desrosiers could only head wide after finding acres of space at the back post.
That pretty much was the last of the key chances as Sporting closed out the victory to record a third consecutive league clean sheet.
Next up for the Rouslers is an away trip to AFC Wulfrunians on Tuesday night in the Polymac Packaging League Cup (745pm KO).