Sporting see off noisy tenants Earlswood

Bromsgrove Sporting 2, Earlswood Town 1

A cracking battle between landlords and tenants on Boxing Day saw Sporting claim the honours with a 2-1 victory over Earlswood Town.

Goals for Mark Bellingham and Joe Cole ensured Sporting saw off a team managed by former boss Keith Draper.

Sporting started quickly and only a great save from Earlswood keeper Josh Benton, prevented Sam Wilkinson from opening the scoring in the first minute.

A scramble from the resulting corner almost saw Bellingham prod home but he was deprived by centre half Myles Jones intervention inside the six yard box.

Sporting dominated territory for the first period and continued to press with Stefan Ashman shooting narrowly wide on nine minutes and Benton making another great save, pushing a header onto the crossbar after 19 minutes.

It was 34 minutes before Earlswood threatened, with a goal bound Chrisi Conway shot diverted for a corner.

Christmas then came to Bromsgrove, as on 43 minutes keeper Benton dropped a harmless looking Ashman cross and Bellingham slid it home to open the scoring. 

A minute later things went from the ridiculous to the sublime as an Earlswood clearance fell to Sporting centre back Cole who hit a shot, arrow straight, into the top corner past the keepers despairing dive.

With Sporting 2-0 up at half-time, Keith Draper’s team talk to his Earlswood charges was changed dramatically by the late goals and Sporting would be expected to anticipate Earlswood rallying in the second period.

As the second half started it seemed Sporting were not aware of the need to stay tight and allowed Keith Draper Junior to roll in a goal on 46 minutes to make it 2-1.

 Earlswood certainly had more of the play in the second period but only a shocking decision by the referee denied Sporting a penalty as a defender completely missed the ball and took out Ashman but the appeals were mysteriously waved away.

The remainder of the game was very much end-to-end but Sporting rode their luck and some fine keeping by Jake Bedford kept Earlswood at bay and Sporting just about deserved their victory.

Sporting: Bedford, Mander, Duggan, Clarke, Cole (Cpt), Morris, Ashman (sub Harvey), Wilkinson, Bellingham, Darkin, Wilson. (sub Edwards). Subs not used Lowe, Jones.   Booked: Bellingham.

Earlswood: Benton, Parker, Deehan, Martin, Jones, Fitzgerald (Sub Flanagan), Draper, Harris (Cpt), Dunkely (sub Morrison), Conway (sub Barfield), Bright. Subs  not used Redden, Millan.

Attendance: 325

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