Bromsgrove Sporting, 0 Highgate United 1

SPORTING were edged out on the opening day of the Midland Football League Division One at home by a highly-rated Highgate side.

A second minute strike by Martin Crawford separated the two teams.

Highgate United were unfortunate to be relegated from the Midland Alliance last season on their failure to comply with ground regulations after finishing in third place and the Birmingham-based side had retain most of their players.

Lei Brown put an angled cross into the box from the left which Crawford diverted past Sporting keeper Jake Bedford.

Sporting pressed forward in an attempt to get the equaliser while Highgate’s well-organised defence saw of any threats.

They did attempt to increase their lead but were careful not to over-commit themselves and by now the Sporting back four were better organised.

Sporting’s best chances of the half came from Chris 'Billy' Russell who flashed a shot across the face of the goal on 16 minutes while Tesfa Robinson, making his debut as a centre-back, had his thundering header well-saved by visiting keeper Paul Chewitt in the 35th minute.

After the interval, Sporting carried on much as they had spent the first half with winger Sean Williams looking to be the home side’s best opportunity to get on to the score sheet.

However Chris Conway was also working hard playing behind the two main strikers.

He set up a good chance on the 60th minute with a great cross into the box but Robbie Agar put the resulting shot wide.

A couple of minutes later Ager had another opportunity but hit his shot straight at Highgate's keeper.

Former Rover, Danny Campbell replaced Billy Russell came close with his first touch, before Sean Williams fired an excellent 20-yard shot over the bar.

With just a few minutes left Sporting thought they may have had a modicum of justice for Highgate’s somewhat physical play when Campbell appeared to be fouled in the box but the referee waved play on.

Bedford was called into action in the game's dying moments, when Bedford tipped over an effort from Brown.

Sporting: Bedford, Mander (Pace, 85), Chris Duggan, Ryan Mahon (Christmas, 68), Danny Parker, Robinson, Williams, Conway, McKenzie, Russell (Campbell, 63), Agar.

Subs not used: Andrews, Wellington.

Highgate: Chewitt, Lacey, Pulisciano, Hall, Turner, Thomas (Edwards, 68), Crawford, Fellows, Edgington, Adams (Mooney, 56), Brown.

Subs not used: Batchelor, Himson, Hurren.

Referee: M Steward (Redditch)

Attendance: 300

Sporting Man of the Match: Sean Williams