21st Nov, 2017

Spink and Lloyd fire history-making Bromsgrove Sporting into FA Vase semi-finals

Craig Gibbons 19th Feb, 2017 Updated: 19th Feb, 2017

BROMSGROVE Sporting kept on re-writing the history book as they secured their place in the semi-finals of the FA Vase with a 2-0 victory over Buckland Athletic.

Second half goals from Liam Spink and Chris Lloyd brought an end to Athletic’s 17-game unbeaten run and 14-game winning streak in front of a new club record crowd of 2,984 fans.

Sporting boss Paul Smith made three changes to the team which beat Cadbury Athletic last Saturday as Keenan Meakin-Richards, Lloyd and Andy Nicol dropped to the bench with Ahmed Ali, Sam Wills and Reece Hewitt deputising in their place.

And it did not take long for the Rouslers to settle in front of 2,984 fans as Reece Hewitt found Bunn on the far side who cut inside before unleashing a rasping left-footed drive which deflected into the side netting in the fifth minute.

The opening stages proved to be very end-to-end and ten minutes later the Newton Abbot-based visitors had the ball in the back of the net when Simon Laughton headed home at the back post from Danny Griffiths’ free-kick from the left.

But Laughton’s joy was short-lived as the assistant referee on the far side had his flag up for offside which was met by raptuous applause from the Shed End faithful.

Despite seeing the goal ruled out, Athletic came forward again and after Richard Groves found himself on the right side of Aaron Roberts in the Sporting box, the Rouslers defender clumsily clipped his ankles and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.

Up stepped Lloyd Gardner and with a packed Shed End in front of him, he scuppered his chance to put the visitors ahead as a poor run up was met by an equally poor shot which was well saved by Nathan Vaughan down to his left.

After two huge let offs for Sporting, they regrouped and began to get the ball moving again as Bunn saw another shot after cutting in from the left hand side deflected behind for a corner after 25 minutes.

Gardner then fired wide of the mark in the 33rd minute when he slipped at the vital moment inside the area before Gardner brought an end to the half’s action with a thunderous volley which went aimlessly wide of the mark.

After the break Sporting started the better of the two sides but after Edwards gave away a cheap free-kick just inside his own half, a quickly taken set-piece allowed Gardner to break free but his dangerous delivery was well cleared by a resolute Rouslers defence.

The hosts would not sit back and more pressure followed as Lloyd saw a good cross claimed by Fisher before Bunn blasted well wide of the mark from 20 yards out after 57 minutes.

Then, on the hour mark, Sporting were awarded a penalty after Hewitt was fouled in the box by the Athletic keeper.

Spink took responsibility, and just like his winning penalty over Cadbury Athletic last Saturday, he found the bottom right-hand corner to send the Rouslers into dream land.

A good save from Fisher with his feet then prevented Jason Cowley’s low drive form nestling into the corner after 68 minutes before the follow up by Lloyd was blocked.

Three minutes later the crossbar was rattling as a thunderous volley from Bunn which followed Roberts’ cross from the right smacked against the woodwork and bounced to safety.

However, Sporting’s pressure paid off as the roof was sent off the Victoria Ground once again in the 74th minute.

A neat lay-off by Cowley set substitute Lloyd free who pulled his marker wide of goal before arrowing a shot across the box which nestled into the far corner.

That goal seemed to have killed off any hope of an Athletic come back as they dropped their tempo but Jared Lewington came close to pulling a goal back with six minutes remaining.

However, his powerful drive deflected wide.

From the resultant corner, Sporting broke with Cowley down the right. He crossed into the box where Lloyd had acres of space to make it 3-0 but somehow he pulled his effort wide of the goal.

Despite four minutes of stoppage time put on the end of the second half, Sporting held on to claim a remarkable victory which could have been more had Cowley not missed a one-on-one in the second minute of stoppage time.

 

 

 

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