DISMAYED Bromsgrove Sporting boss Paul Smith apologised to the club's massive army of supporters following their FA Vase exit at Thatcham Town.

An estimated 400 to 500 Sporting supporters made the trip to Berkshire and arrived in such force, that the referee had to delay the kick-off by 15 minutes as Thatcham only had one turnstile in operation.

But despite having such an emphatic following, Sporting failed to sparkle and Smith offered no excuses when he said: "The better side won.

"We chose to produce one of our worst displays of the season and I can't put a finger on the reason why.

"Whether the players were nervous and felt the pressure, I don't know, but it's a tough one to take.

"They're just as upset as I am because they know they didn't perform to their best and let everybody down.

"Thatcham are a good side and they worked really hard, while we didn't match them.

"It's a performance I didn't see coming and I apologise to everyone that made the trip.

"It wasn't the fact that we lost, but the manner in which we lost.

"But now we have to put the FA Vase to bed and concentrate on winning the league as we have the ability to do that.

"Thankfully we have a Worcestershire Senior Urn game against a Stourport Swifts side in the same position as us, so that we can both get the FA Vase out of our system before going to Rugby Town on Saturday.

"Despite not playing well at Thatcham, we still had chances. Reece Hewitt had a one-on-one with the goalkeeper and Jason Cowley also got through before Thatcham scored.

"I could see things weren't working and made a substitution after 25 minutes, taking off Sam Wills and replacing him with John Pykett.

"The move worked to some extent as Pykett won us the penalty for Richard Gregory to pull the score back to 2-1.

"We still had chances, but in truth, we weren't at the races."

Smith revealed he visited Thatcham's ground the day before the game and arrived to find their board members and management working on the pitch.

He added: "They were lovely poeple. They even stopped work and opened the bar up for myself and my fellow spy. We ended up talking to them for an hour and a half, it was proper non-league football at it's best.

"They are a good side with key players in key areas and a couple of central defenders that can keep Richard Gregory and Jason Cowley quiet, so they must be good.

"They have all the ammunition that is required to win the competition and I wish them well.

"We've picked up injuries to Jason Cowley, Richard Gregory, Max Loveridge and Reece Hewitt, but at least I can bring back Drew Canavan and Josh Holt who were cup-tied".