BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Paul Smith admitted this week's defeat to lower level Coton Green in the Smedley Crook Cup was probably a game too far for his players.

Sporting lost out 4-3 on penalties after the game had finished goalless but honest Smith offered no excuses.

He said: "Apart from Neil Leach in goal and a couple of youngsters on the bench, I went into the game with a strong starting 11.

"But the truth is, we didn't turn up. Coton Green defended very well and I take my hat off to them for that, because we couldn't break them down.

"We didn't play well and it was possibly one game too many in what has been an unbelievable season."

Smith confirmed he is already turning his attentions to next season and life in the Midland Premier Division.

He confirmed: "I met with the board of directors last Wednesday to make sure we were all singing from the same hymn sheet and I'm happy with what was said."

Smith revealed he'd already agreed deals with Daniel Morris, Ahmed Ali, Leon Spink and Robbie Bunn to keep them at the Victoria Ground for next season, while striker Jason Cowley is currently on contract.

But he added: "Initially, I'd like to give all the squad a chance to play at the higher level. But I do realise at the same time we need a bit more quality in certain places and I've already got two or three targets in mind.

"But there's no major surgery required.

"I make no secret of the fact I'm an ambitious manager and I want Bromsgrove Sporting to be a top six side next season.

"It's a big step to take and a number of sides promoted in recent times have struggled. I want to be up there challenging for honours."

Smith and his Sporting players displayed all that is best in non-League football this week when they befriended supporter James Randall who had been the subject of bullying on social media.

James was made guest of honour for the game against Coton Green.

He was picked up and driven to game by the manager while the players all chipped in to buy him a new season ticket.

Smith said: "I'm sure any manager who saw the video would have done the same. There's no room for bullying in football and the whole episode has left a bad taste in the mouth.

"Hopefully we can all draw a line under it now and move on."