Bromsgrove Sporting 2, Fairfield Villa 1

SPORTING edged a scrappy Smedley Crooke Challenge Trophy third round encounter against local rivals Fairfield Villa with a 2-1 victory at the Victoria Ground.

The game didn’t spring to life until the latter stages and in a poor first-half the key moment was when Fairfield keeper Owen Hancox, who was playing with his knee heavily strapped, damaged it again making a clearance.

The unfortunate shot-stopper struggled on until half-time but had to be replaced by substitute Marc Rogers.

While Fairfield looked the brighter side, Sporting’s defence was sharper than their derby rivals and the only causes for alarm were a couple of clearances by keeper Chris Mole which were swiftly closed down by attackers.

But the game did not spark into life until the 70th-minute when Jamie Hatfield cleared a shot off the Fairfield goal-line as Sporting almost capitalised from a corner.

The deadlock was broken on 78 minutes when Villa failed to clear their lines and Jon Rogers latched onto a through ball to hit a strike beyond substitute keeper Rogers.

Sporting doubled their lead three minutes later when a header from a corner by substitute Bradley Williamson wrong-footed the Rogers and crept inside the post.

The game should have been wrapped up at that point but a spirited reply from Fairfield saw Martin Slevin rattle the Sporting crossbar, before Hatfield’s header was adjudged to have crossed the line to make it 2-1 on 83 minutes.

The visitors pushed on to try and take the game into extra-time but ultimately came up short, as Sporting were able to hang on for the win and book their place in the semi-final of the Smedley Crooke Cup.

Sporting: Mole, Fellows, Roberts (Harris 88), Martin, Thurbon, Brookes, Draper, Wilkes, Rogers (Molesworth 84), Turk, Banner (Williamson, 59). Subs not used: Rogers, Jenvey.

Fairfield: Hancox (Rogers 46), Hatfield, Pratt, Parrish, Frost, Slevin, Beagan, McGlen, Gaffney (Rousell 71), Sproston, Smith.Subs not used: Morgan, Wroe, Hopwood.

Referee: R Osbourne (Halesowen).

Attendance: 291.

n Sporting’s reserves team saw off Northfield Town 3-1, with Rob Hendry (2) and Craig Vale scoring.

n Fixtures — Midland Combination Division One: Bromsgrove Sporting v Blackwood (3pm kick-off); Droitwich Spa v Coton Green (3pm kick-off).

President’s Cup quarter-final: Fairfield Villa v Feckenham (2.30pm kick-off).