A SOLITARY goal from substitute Luke Shorthouse midway through the second half ensured Nuneaton Griff claimed a 1-0 victory over Bromsgrove Sporting at the Victoria Ground.
After coming on just before the hour mark, Shorthouse succumbed the Rouslers to their first home defeat of the season after drilling home a low left-footed shot from the edge of the area in the 68th minute.
The result sees Sporting’s impressive 10-game winning streak in all competitions to an end, while also failing to close the gap on Midland League Division One leaders Coventry United who managed to salvage a 2-2 home draw with Hinkcley AFC after netting a 95th minute equaliser.
Before Saturday afternoon, Sporting sat four points behind the league leaders and knew they’d face a difficult test against Nuneaton Griff who managed to reach the last-16 of the FA Vase.
However, it was the Rouslers who started the quicker, threatening early on with their first real chance of the game coming from Nathan Walker’s free kick which curled just wide of the angle after six minutes.
Walker was involved once again 10 minutes later but his shot was saved low down by Griff keeper George Woodward.
Griff carved out their first chance of the game on the 17th minute and probably should have scored, but Josh Ruff failed to capitalise as Sporting keeper Chris Jay saved his shot well to keep the scores level.
Walker had another close range free kick to stand over after 21 minutes, but his well driven effort was superbly tipped over by Woodward.
Fifteen minutes passed by before two chances in the space of a minute fell Sporting’s way, however, none could be taken as Sean Brain couldn’t bury home from Aaron Roberts’ cross before Liam Spink saw his effort well saved again by Woodward.
The woodwork came to the rescue of Griff soon after as Brain’s flick on from a corner thumped against the post.
With Griff sitting back and playing on the counter, they almost go their just rewards as Ruff scythed his way through the Sporting defence with only Jay to beat, yet the Sporting keeper stood tall to save well.
Griff thought they had scored right on half time as Ruff’s low shot beat the outstretched arm of Jay only to see the ball hit the post, rebound back off the keeper towards goal before Jay reacted fast enough to grab the ball on the goal line to keep the scores level going into the interval.
After an exciting first half, the second proved to be just as enjoyable to watch as Sporting almost took the lead within five minutes of the restart but Craig Jones’ header from a corner was cleared off the line.
In the 58th minute, Griff brought on substitute Shorthouse who took only 10 minutes to make an impact.
After some sloppy play in the middle, Griff capitalised on the loose ball with Ruff feeding Shorthouse who turned his marker before unleashing a low driven effort that nestled into the bottom corner of the net despite the desperate reaches of Jay.
Griff should have doubled their advantage 15 minutes from the end as more sloppy play saw Danny Edmond one on one with Jay, but once again, the Sporting keeper stood his ground to keep his side in the game.
With only ten minutes left on the clock, and with Griff kicking into time wasting mode, the Rouslers made a late onslaught and were unlucky not to have levelled the game.
After some neat play from substitute Dale Edwards, he cut the ball back to Walker on the edge of the box whose well struck effort hit the post, rolled along the line and went out for a corner.
Despite the Rouslers piling on the pressure, Griff held out for a hard-fought 1-0 victory that ended Sporting’s unbeaten home record, however, some post-match antics from both sets of players put a tarnish on a very exciting game of football.
Sporting will now look to bounce back and return to winning ways this Tuesday night (February 16) as they welcome Lichfield City to the Victoria Ground.