Stafford Town 1, Bromsgrove Sporting 4

BROMSGROVE Sporting rose to second in the Midland Combination Premier with a convincing win at Stafford on Saturday.

The pitch at Evans Park was quite soft and heavy but there was no mud or standing water so Sporting were able to play their first away match for two months and as a bonus in bright sunshine.

The home side made a determined start in the first minute forcing a corner only for Mat Dockerty to balloon a volley over the bar from the resulting kick.

That made the Rouslers wake up and after some steady build-ups from the midfield, Sean Williams finally beat his marker on the right to deliver a good cross on the fifth minute.

Matt Poyner’s shot was blocked only to roll out to Danny Ludlow who fired home from 10 yards to give Sporting the lead.

Williams could have doubled the lead five minutes later but mis-timed his shot and it went into the side-netting.

Stafford then had a good spell dominating the centre of the park and creating a number of chances but their finishing left a lot to be desired with Jake Turner beating the Sporting back line only to tap the ball out for a goal-kick. Striker Morgan Hurley then scuffed a shot that Jake Bedford in the away goal easily gathered.

With the away supporters getting increasingly worried that a one-goal lead was not enough, a bizarre incident led to Sporting’s second. The home bench had thrown a water bottle to Morgan Hurley while the game was in progress.

He might have got away with it, had one of his team not passed him the ball while attempting to re-hydrate. Referee Mr Swift in spotting the infringement blew up and booked the offending player.

Brett Mander took the free-kick for Sporting from a few yards over the halfway line. This was perfectly delivered into the box where Mark Bellingham nodded on to Matt Poyner who easily tapped home from about 8 yards out.

The Sporting defence though were looking a little shaky and Stafford should have done better on the 38th minute when a misunderstanding between Bedford and Joe Cole 10 yards out of the penalty area gifted the ball to Jake Tuner.

The Stafford midfielder had an empty net to aim at from 40 yards out but sent his shot wide.

Sporting got their third seven minutes after the interval with another well-worked move saw Billy Russell make a perfect square pass to an unmarked Mark Bellingham who side-footed for his 24th goal of the season.

The heavy pitch was now taking its toll and a despite a few substitutions, tired legs were evident and the game slowed down noticeably.

Sporting though continued with some neat passing and steady build-ups and this tactic paid a dividend on the 66th minute when Poyner attempted a shot from around 20 yards out which unluckily for one of the Stafford defenders took a deflection and left ‘keeper Richard Stone clawing at thin air.

Towards the end of the match the home side applied a bit more pressure to make the score line more respectable with former Rousler Jacob Snape (him of the famous dreadlocks) coming on as a substitute but his only real chance on the 86th minute went into the side-netting.

Four minutes later Stafford did manage a consolation goal after Joe Cole brought down Morgan Hurley in the box. The offended striker scoring from the spot.

So Sporting gained a win with a comfortable margin. Not a great game or performance particularly with the defence looking a little jittery at times though Stafford failed to take advantage.

The Rouslers are now second in the league with an identical record to Nuneaton Griff but a superior goal difference.

Tonight sees Bromsgrove take on Alvis in the Les James (League) Cup and it’s another away day on Saturday when they travel to deepest Worcestershire for a league match against Pershore Town.

Stafford (Red, Red, Red): Richard Stone, James Cresswell, James Wild (Daryll Johns 52 mins), John Mackie, James Price, Ryan Fox (Joel Mills 81 mins), Mat Dockerty, Jake Turner (Jacob Snape 64 mins), Morgan Hurley (Capt.), Alex Barnfather, Jud Ellis.

Subs not used: Jon Warburton, Mohammed Ahmed.

Goals: Morgan Hurley (90+1 mins - pen) Sporting (Green/White, Green, Green): Jake Bedford, Brett Mander, Chris Duggan, Lewis Clarke (Sam Wilkinson 60 mins), Joe Cole (Capt.), Craig Jones, Sean Williams, Matt Poyner, Mark Bellingham, Bill Russell, Danny Ludlow (Stefan Ashman 71 mins).

Subs not used: Adam Heath, Chris Heath, Paul Heath.

Scorers: Danny Ludlow (5 mins), Matt Poyner (34, 66 mins), Mark Bellingham (52 mins).

Referee : K Swift (Stoke-on-Trent) Crowd: 81 Sporting Man of the Match: Matt Poyner