BROMSGROVE Rovers AFC played their first home game since September on Saturday and ground out their second league win of the season in the process, writes Neil Gordon.
The Greens were glad to be back at their South Bromsgrove High School base having been on their travels for three consecutive games during October, with the side being worthy 2-0 winners against Solihull-based visitors Hampton Sports.
Saturday’s Division 3 victory, courtesy of a first-half volley from Ben Ellicott and a second-half free-kick from Ash Pardoe, also saw the Greens earn their first clean-sheet in the league this season.
Rovers’ were never really tested during the game, partly due to a good defensive performance, and partly due to the visitors’ failure to really trouble the home goal, even when facing nine-men in the first-half while Bromsgrove had two players in the sin bin for dissent.
Ben Ellicott put the Greens in front on 23 minutes with a neat finish from inside the box after being teed up by Keian Savage.
Moments earlier Savage had almost put the home side ahead himself when he struck a quite superb long-range shot from Rover’s left flank, forcing the visiting ‘keeper to make an equally impressive reaction save.
The Greens then had two chances to extend their lead during a goalmouth scramble, but the ball somehow stayed out, with Rovers’ claims of a hand ball ignored.
Savage fired another long-range effort goal-bound as half-time approached, but his shot flew past the far post.
Rovers started the second-half looking to double their lead, with Ellicott waltzing into the visitor’s box from Rover’s left-hand side. He beat two players and got a shot away but the ‘keeper dived and smothered the ball.
The pressure from Rovers continued with Ellicott at times tormenting the Hampton defence.
And on 66 minutes he went on another mazy run, drawing a foul just outside the penalty area.
Ash Pardoe stepped up and drilled a fierce low shot around the wall and inside the back post to make it 2-0, with the visiting ‘keeper stranded.
Hampton went in search of a goal to reduce the arrears in the latter stages, but they left themselves open at the back. Rovers repeatedly beat the visiting defence on the half-way line but were unable to increase their lead despite the non-stop running of Ellicott.
Rovers AFC Manager Spencer Machin said: “It was a hard fought win, but it was good to be back at Bromsgrove.”
The Greens moved up to sixth in the table on seven points with this victory, played in front of a growing number of supporters following an appeal by the Club for more people to back the team.