SECOND half substitutes Reece Hewitt and Jon Pykett inspired Bromsgrove Sporting as they snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat against a much-improved Pelsall Villa side, writes Adam Warner.
The Rouslers, who are expected to fight for the title this season, looked on course for a shock loss when Aaron Sylvester put the hosts 2-0 up on Tuesday night.
But with less than 20 minutes remaining, Bromsgrove boss Paul Smith made a double substitution which turned the game on its head.
Pykett and Hewitt immediately caused Pelsall problems as the latter reduced the deficit before Chrisi Conway scored on the 83rd minute to salvage a point for Sporting.
Having shipped more than 150 goals last season, Bromsgrove’s travelling supporters could not be blamed for expecting Pelsall to roll over, but a combination of good luck and resolute defending frustrated the away side.
Sporting, playing up the hill, started the first half the stronger and it did not take long before they were creating chances. A long ball from Aaron Roberts was misjudged by the Pelsall keeper leaving Josh McKenzie through on goal.
But a superb sliding challenge from the Pelsall defender kept the scores level. Craig Jones then blasted over from the resulting corner before summer signing Luke Corbett rattled the woodwork.
However it was Pelsall who took the lead against the run of play. After a great run from Villa’s Dean Williams and some suspect defending, he calmly slotted home past Sporting keeper Shaun Edwards.
The first half continued with Bromsgrove having the bulk of the possession but without creating any clear cut chances and as the half-time whistle sounded the score was still 1-0 to the home side.
The second period started in a very similar fashion with Conway missing a diving header after a delightful cross from Joe Adams shortly followed by McKenzie hitting the post yet again.
It was therefore no surprise to the Sporting faithful when Pelsall doubled their lead after a well-worked counter attack was finished by Sylvester.
The game looked lost until the arrival of Hewitt and new signing Pykett off the bench. The latter provided the width down the right flank that had been lacking while Hewitt produced a moment of magic which changed the momentum of the game.
After ghosting past two defenders he elegantly lifted the ball over the Pelsall keeper and into the top right hand corner of the net.
Sporting were now in the ascendancy and some great build up play led to a Hewitt pass finding Sporting’s other substitute Sean Brain on the touchline.
He then squared the ball to strike partner Conway who applied the finishing touch from two yards out.
The grandstand finish that was now in store never materialised due to several occurrences of cramp, which seemed to be catching amongst the Pelsall team.