A PROFESSIONAL performance from Bromsgrove Sporting saw them maintain their position at the top of Midland League Division One with a 1-0 victory at title rivals Lichfield City.
In a classic game of top versus second, the Rouslers’ game at high-flying City was expected to be a cracker, but it was far from that as possible as a tightly contested match saw very little go for both sides.
But Jason Cowley’s 18th-minute strike was enough to secure the win for the visitors who controlled the game from start to finish and looked defensively solid throughout barring the odd slip here and there.
Robbie Bunn should have added a second in second half stoppage time but apart from that, Sporting picked up a vital three points which extended their unbeaten run to 11 games.
From the get-go, Sporting came out quickest and an early free-kick floated in from the left fell for Bunn on the edge of the area but his volley deflected off a Sporting body before drifting wide for a goal kick after six minutes.
Cowley then saw a header directed straight at City keeper Amrick Virdee before last season’s top goalscorer for Redditch Borough missed the chance of the game in the 11th minute.
After some excellent work by Reece Hewitt to force his way into the box, his cutback across goal found Cowley who looked destined to opened the scoring but a well-positioned City defender cleared the danger from under the crossbar.
But seven minutes later Cowley made amends as he slotted home his fifth goal in six outings in all competitions from Bunn’s well-delivered cross from the right.
The hosts, who had yet to really threaten Chris Jay in the Sporting goal, almost drew level after 24 minutes when Tony Clarke’s misplaced backpass, this coming after he should have left a bouncing ball for Hewitt, was collected by Chapman.
Chapman then delivered a low cross from the right which evaded Daniel Thurstance on the penalty spot before reaching Marley Hamilton at the back post who could only scoop over with the goal at his mercy.
A fine save from Jay denied Jordan Hunt at the back post three minutes later before Keenan Meakin-Richards saw a free-kick from the edge of the area curl wide ensuring the visitors went into the break 1-0 up.
Following the interval, Ahmed Ali saw a rasping drive sail over the bar from 25 yards out just two minutes after the restart which was then followed up by an ambitious 35-yard volley from Cowley who spotted Virdee off his line.
The effort, however, was tame and bobbled through to the City keeper.
Bunn also saw another long range effort go over while at the other end Chapman failed to find the target from a corner which was punched to the edge of the area by Jay after 66 minutes.
A gritty game continued as City’s defence kept Sporting at bay and another fine save from Virdee denied substitute Chris Lloyd from getting onto the scoresheet with a powerful drive from inside the area.
The hosts tried their best to come forward but found it tough against a Sporting defence which has conceded only seven goals all season.
Ben Lund and Dean Withers posed a threat down the left wing but despite some late pressure with five minutes to go they failed to force the equaliser.
But that wasn’t the end of the action as in the second minute of stoppage time Bunn should have put the game beyond doubt when he was played clean through but a wonderful low save by Virdee ensured it remained 1-0.