BOSS Paul Smith praised Bromsgrove Sporting’s ‘resilience’ and ‘character’ as they battled back from 2-1 down to secure a 3-2 victory over Cadbury Athletic right at the death.
The Midland League Division One pacesetters took the lead after ten minutes when Jason Cowley poked home from close range before two goals from Tory Herbett either side of half-time gave the visitors the lead.
But the Rouslers battled back as substitute Tom Craine levelled things up after 72 minutes before Liam Spink showed great composure to score from the penalty spot in the 90th minute to extend Sporting’s unbeaten league season to 23 games.
Despite not being ‘at the races’, Smith spoke wonders of how his side managed to dig deep and claim a much-needed three points in front of 484 fans at the Victoria Ground.
“We haven’t played well, we have huffed, puffed and won ugly,” he said.
“Fair play to Cadbury as they came to frustrate us and defend deep in numbers but a plus point for me is we showed tremendous desire at the end to grind out a result which at one point didn’t look like we were going to.
“In years gone by we would have lost that game. At 2-1 down we would have got turned over but we have shown great resilience and worked our socks off to get back in the game at 2-2 and we have pushed on to win it.
“That’s testament to the lads really as they have shown some great character in the last 20 minutes to go and win it.”
With a huge game against Toolstation Western League outfit Buckland Athletic next Sunday in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase, Smith is wary another poor performance could bring an end to Sporting’s Wembley dreams.
“If we play like we did against Cadbury we will get turned over,” he added.
“The players are under no illusions and that’s exactly what I have said to them.
“It does seem a bit harsh to say that as in the last six to eight weeks we have been right at it with wins over Leicester Road and Hinckley in the league as well as the two games in the Vase.
“But we were going to have a dip eventually but what’s important is when you have that dip you still get the results.”
With the FA Vase in mind, star striker Cowley was substituted in the first half of the 3-2 victory over Athletic due to a knock on the ankle but Smith insisted the change was only a precaution.
“It was more tender than anything but with a big run of games, I did not want to risk him as much as he wanted to stay on the field and carry on,” he added.