Preston Grasshoppers 29, Bromsgrove 26

MUCH-depleted Bromsgrove produced a spirited fight back only to suffer a last-gasp defeat in the National Two North.

The Finstall Park outfit battled back from 22-3 to edge ahead only for Preston to have the last laugh.

With eight changes due to injuries and unavailabilities the signs were not good and when the half finished with Hoppers leading 22-3 things looked ominous for the Boars.

The restart saw a superb turnaround with Bromsgrove’s players responding to a half-time talk from coaches Ross Baxter and Duncan Roke.

Whatever they said had instant effect as prop Kevin Salisbury crashed over almost immediately for a try near the posts, converted by fly half Richard Mahony. The score instilled belief into the Town side and suddenly Hoppers had a game on their hands.

With Bromsgrove harrying their hosts at every opportunity, cracks began to appear in the hosts defence.

An Aaron Higgins try, again converted magnificently from the touchline by Mahony, closed the gap and with the hosts defending desperately Mahony then kicked three penalties to edge the Town ahead.

With time running out a magnificent victory seemed certain but a lapse of concentration on the stroke of full-time resulted in possession being lost in the Hoppers’ 22.

A missed tackle allowed their winger to speed away for a try under the posts which was converted to secure victory.

The final whistle followed the kick and the Boars suffered another defeat which saw them drop into the bottom three.

On Saturday, Bromsgrove entertain Westoe in a must-win game if the Boars are to escape the relegation zone.