BROMSGROVE Sporting came close to chalking up a second victory over a Stratford side this month as they conceded a late equaliser at the Victoria Ground on Tuesday night.
Having seen off FC Stratford 7-4, the Rouslers looked set to beat their neighbours, Stratford Town, as they led 3-2 thanks to goals from Josh McKenzie, Sean Brain and Oliver Gibson.
But with just two minutes of normal time remaining, Charlie Faulkner beat Jake Bedford with a sublime finish to secure the Evo-Stik Southern Premier League outfit a draw.
With three divisions separating Sporting and Stratford, the hosts seemed to raise their performance as Aaron Roberts went close with a head after just eight minutes.
Chris Conway, who had just signed a new deal, had a shot blocked while Unit Eninoglu’s follow-up was deflected behind as Bromsgrove threatened to break the deadlock.
But it was Stratford who went ahead. With less than ten minutes to go before half-time, Joe Halsall was bundled over in the box and Richard Gregory stepped up to dispatch the spot kick.
Despite the set-back, the Rouslers made a superb start to the second period as a misunderstanding between Aaron Stringfellow and keeper Andy Kemp allowed McKenzie to roll the ball into the empty net.
After 55minutes, manager Paul Smith sent on former Stratford youth team player Brain and it was clear he was keen to make an impact.
The striker forced a fine save from Kemp before sliding the ball past him on the hour mark to put Bromsgrove deservedly ahead.
That lead was only to last eight minutes as Aaron Moses-Garvey released Stringfellow into the penalty area and he lashed the ball into the roof of the net past substitute keeper Bedford to make it 2-2.
But back came Sporting as Brain twice went close – the second of which saw him out-pace the Town defence before just failing to do enough to round James Cutts.
And Smith’s men eventually re-took the lead on the 83rd minute when Gibson skipped past a series of tackles before steering the ball past the advancing Cutts.
This looked to be the decider, but Faulkner had other ideas. With his back to goal, the youngster swivelled and drilled the ball across Bedford into the far corner.
*ON SATURDAY, Bromsgrove suffered a 1-0 defeat away to a well-organised Cradley Town side. The hosts goal came in the 34th minute as Sporting were left to rue their missed chances in the first half.
Cradley’s keeper also left the Rouslers frustrated as he pulled off a fine double stop to deny Brain and Matt Jones just after the break.
New signing James McKeon came within a whisker of snatching an equaliser, but his chip on the 87th minute just went over as Cradley hung on.