CHRIS LLOYD’s second-half strike ensured Bromsgrove Sporting walked away with victory in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase against a well-drilled Tipton Town outfit.
After a goal-less first half at the Tipton Sports Academy, a piece of individual brilliance from Lloyd in the 59th minute meant the Rouslers kept up their record of never failing to reach the first round proper.
From goalkeeper Chris Jay’s long ball, the flick on reached Sean Brain who switched play to Lloyd on the far right. The pacey forward then cut inside before arrowing a powerful shot into the far corner to secure Sporting’s place in the next round.
It wasn’t the most accomplished of performances from Paul Smith’s side but they bounced back to winning ways after bowing out of the Polymac Packaging League Cup to Sporting Khalsa on Tuesday (September 20) night.
Sporting, like they normally do, started the brighter of the two sides with Lloyd getting the game’s first clear-cut opportunity after eight minutes but after collecting Robbie Bunn’s inch-perfect cross, he could only skew wide from the edge of the area with his weaker right foot.
The West Midlands (Regional) League Division One hosts were unlucky to not go ahead themselves just four minutes later but Jordan Harrison slipped at the vital moment in the box, allowing Sporting to clear.
A fantastic save from Town keeper Mark Brach in the 14th minute denied Brain from grabbing his eight goal of the season as his near post header from Lloyd’s cross was expertly tipped over the bar.
Again Town hit back and after capitalising on a mistake by Sporting’s Daniel Morris, Romario Reid bared down on goal only to fire a tame shot into the grateful of arms of Jay in the Rouslers’ goal.
Ludlow and Clarke had chances to nose Sporting ahead midway through the half but both were thwarted by Brach. The game went quiet after this point with Sporting failing to deliver the final ball as Town sat back and soaked up all the pressure.
Reid, Harrison and Sam Hesson looked dangerous on the break for Town but a string of offsides denied them any clear opportunity of breaking the deadlock.
The final chance of the half fell to Clarke five minutes from time when the burly striker went it alone on the edge of the area only to fire a weak shot straight at Brach.
After the interval, both sides continued in the same way the ended the first, Sporting having the possession but missing that killer edge with the final ball while Town sat back and defended well.
However, Town’s resistance was broken just before the hour mark. Some quick thinking from Jay saw the keeper boot a long ball up field which skipped off a Town head into the path of Brain.
After cutting inside and glancing to the opposite side of the pitch, Brain switched the play nicely to Lloyd who, with his extra yard of pace, skipped past his man on the inside before smashing home a wonderful effort into the top left-hand corner.
Lloyd almost doubled the Rouslers’ lead six minutes later after finding himself one-on-one with Brach from substitute Ahmed Ali’s flick on but again the Town stopper pulled off a good save to keep his side in the game.
Another chance went begging for Lloyd in the 68th minute when he volleyed over from the edge of the area after another long ball from Jay was helped on its way by Ali once again.
By this point, Town were pinned in their own penalty area following a succession of seven corners in the space of five minutes but they defended well to ensure they did not fall further behind.
Despite battling hard to force an equaliser, Sporting’s defence stood firm to withstand the late pressure from the home side to book their place in the next round of the FA Vase.
Sporting will find out who they will play in the first round on Monday (September 26).