Bromsgrove Sporting 1
Hitchin Town 2
Southern League Premier Central – 22nd February
Report by Ben Tyler and Max Banner
BRENDAN Kelly said a controversial penalty award against Bromsgrove wasn’t the reason they lost on Saturday.
Layne Eadie’s 50th-minute penalty, following a foul by Jack Wilson on Daniel Webb, allowed Hitchin to take the upper hand in the encounter
The Canaries extended their lead through Alex Marsh’s header and though Will Shorrock gave Sporting some hope the Hertfordshire visitors became the second team, after Coalville Town, to deny the Rouslers victory both home and away in the league this season.
Kelly was aggrieved by the manner in which the penalty was conceded, more so than the dubious call by the referee.
“I think in that position, you keep your hands and feet to yourself,” he said. “Any good striker will go down with a touch.
“Maybe their player conned the referee but it was frustrating because Webb was actually going away from goal when he went down.
“It wasn’t the penalty that lost us the game though, we were far and away from the level that we strive to be at.”
A drab goalless first half gave neither set of fans much to shout about at the Victoria Ground, though Rouslers keeper Daniel Platt drew some applause with his excellent handling to clutch a powerful shot from Lewis Barker.
Tom Taylor was presented with the first chance of the second half as Sporting looked to step it up, forcing a stop from Town’s Charlie Horlock.
But just two minutes later came the big talking point, as the ref ruled for a foul on Webb and Eadie fired home from the penalty spot, despite Platt getting a hand to the ball.
Two further saves by Platt to deny Brett Donnelly and Marsh kept Bromsgrove in the game, although the latter was left with plenty of time and space to direct a downwards header low into the corner on 61 minutes. Shorrock pulled a goal back with a stunning hit into the roof of the net after two previous attempts by Shaquille McDonald were blocked, but Sporting could not find a late equaliser.
Boldmere St Michaels 0
Bromsgrove Sporting 4
Friendly – 25th February
Report by Ben Tyler
Bromsgrove’s battling win in blustery conditions at The Trevor Brown Memorial Ground gave manager Brendan Kelly reasons to be cheerful on Tuesday night.
Recent arrival Reece Styche demonstrated his international pedigree by giving the visitors a third-minute lead, the Gibraltar striker driving low into the corner from 20 yards to open his account on his first start for the club.
The Mikes were positive in their play despite going up against higher-level opposition and played the ball around with confidence, although it was Sporting who continued to go closest against the Midland League Premier Division side.
Charlie Dowd struck narrowly wide of the post, while former Rousler keeper Matt Coton was equal to a close-range effort from Styche to keep the half-time scoreline locked at 1-0.
It was fairly plain sailing for Bromsgrove though after Richard Gregory headed home the second of the game five minutes into the half from Dowd’s cross.
The Sporting captain chalked up his second and Bromsgrove’s third eight minutes from time with a shot that was zipped into the bottom corner from Josh Quaynor’s centre.
A goal at the death from Lewis Chester then wrapped up proceedings after the forward had been played through by substitute Jack Wilson.