A SWEETLY struck Sam Wills goal 11 minutes from time gave Bromsgrove Sporting a 2-1 win over Uttoxeter Town despite playing with ten men for an hour, writes Neil Gordon.
Sporting returned to the Victoria Ground last night (Thursday) to the delight of 680 faithful followers still beaming after the team had become league title winners on Saturday with a 2-0 win against Studley.
During the opening exchanges both sides looked to take control of the game and on two minutes the visitor’s Oliver Richie found space in a central position before duly putting the ball in the Rouslers net.
However, the linesman ruled him offside.
Sporting attacked down the left on seven minutes with Tom Craine going on a strong run taking the fullback with him.
Craine continued on, and sent-in a low ball across the box.
Shorthouse was unable to connect but John Pykett was waiting at the back post and easily struck a firm shot which deflected off the advancing ‘keeper and in for the opener.
Sporting upped the pressure and the ball was played over the top for Craine but visiting keeper Michael Allen gathered.
Soon after Jack Wilson fired a firm left-foot shot at the Uttoxeter goal from distance which again was gathered by Allen.
The visitors then enjoyed a good spell and pressed for the equaliser which duly arrived after 27 minutes.
After working the ball down the right, Richie received the ball at his feet just inside the box and showed good composure to make space before dispatching the ball past Steve Grogan.
Uttoxeter again raided down the right and got the ball to Richie.
He off-loaded it to right-back Lewis whose first-time shot looped high and crashed down onto the crossbar before being cleared away by the home defence.
Soon afterwards the talking point of the game arrived when Shorthouse received a straight red card after a foul on Uttoxeter’s Thomas Morgan.
The referee showed no hesitation in producing the red card but the decision mystified most people inside the Victoria Ground.
Sporting’s Keenan Meakin-Richards talked himself into the referees notebook while the injured Morgan continued to receive lengthy treatment as the sending-off continued to rankle the home players.
Morgan was then substituted minutes later.
With the home side down to ten men, manager Paul Smith substituted Pykett for Jason Cowley with the Rouslers determined to keep two men upfront.
Luke Edwards picked-up a yellow card for kicking the ball away after Uttoxeter were awarded a free kick but the first-half continued without more incident apart from Wills firing over the bar.
After a slow start to the second half the visitors were in action with Jake Lovatt shooting over.
George Woodruffe then received treatment after landing awkwardly before Richie fired straight at the home keeper after being put through.
Sporting then rang the changes with a double substitution as Chris Conway and Ahmed Ali coming on for Craine and Meakin-Richards respectively.
After 69 minutes Uttoxeter played a sweeping four-man move which began deep in their own half and ended inside Sporting’s six-yard box.
The ball was sent down the middle then played-out to the right before clinically being put on a six-pence for Richie in front of the Rouslers goal.
However, he miscued when it was easier to score and the danger passed.
Sporting stepped-up a gear and the returning Conway got a firm left-foot shot away from long-range before Wilson sent-in a testing shot which had Allen making a fine reaction save on 75 minutes.
With pressure again increasing from the home side, the ball came to Wills on the edge of the box and he duly fired-in a sweet left-foot low curling shot into the bottom far corner of the net after 79 minutes.
Sporting held firm and saw out the remainder of the game with a level of composure befitting a league winning team deservedly on a 35 unbeaten run in the league.