A warm, sunny day greeted the Bromsgrove team on their arrival in mid-Oxfordshire but a bone-dry, uneven pitch did not bode well for a skilful match, writes Phil Baker.
Despite the inconvenient playing surface, both teams got to work early on with the home side forcing a corner in the first minute.
But it was Sporting who got their noses in front six minutes in, when Charlie Dowd floated over an inch-perfect corner to the far post that was met by an unmarked Jason Cowley.
His bullet header flew into the top right-hand corner of Leigh Bedwell’s net, giving the Didcot keeper no chance.
The goal seemed to give Sporting some confidence and they nearly built on their early advantage a couple of minutes later, when Kieren Westwood’s shot was parried by Bedwell.
However, as the half went on, so Didcot themselves gained confidence, and for periods kept their opponents pinned back in their own half.
They were unable to level before half-time, although they went very close with a bicycle kick from Felipe Barcelos that travelled narrowly over the bar, whilst an angled shot from Callum McNish forced Jono Brown to keep out with his feet.
It did not come as much surprise that the home side attempted to take the game to the Rouslers after the interval, and they succeeded in doing so in the 53rd minute.
John Dennis weave his way through the Sporting defence before dispatching a low shot past Brown into the bottom-left corner of the net.
Smelling blood, Didcot went after the lead, forcing Brown to make another good stop with his feet from Barcelos, followed by McNish’s effort from outside the box that flashed narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
Sporting though were making inroads into re-gaining the lead, doing exactly that in 64th minute.
A quick move up-field led to Josh Quaynor sliding a pass wide to Dowd – who had plenty of time and space to record his seventh goal of the season with a tap-in from 10 yards out.
With the visiting Rouslers enforcing a policy to defend their narrow lead, further attempts were few from either side.
Bromsgrove did go close however, when Nathan Hayward’s pile-driver from just over 20 yards went narrowly over the bar, whilst Jack Wilson’s attempt to get on the score sheet resulted in a weak shot after taking the ball down expertly inside his own half.
The scoreline remained after an additional five minutes, with Mr Martin sounding the whistle on a crucial victory for the Rouslers in their hunt for the title.