TOP of the table Bromsgrove Sporting bid to bounce straight back following their shock beating at Bedford Town this week.

The Rouslers crashed to a heavy 5-1 reverse but the Rouslers still remain three points clear at the top

Bromsgrove boss Brendan Kelly missed the game owing to a family bereavement and handed the reins to his assistant Andy Mason who said:

"It was the hardest game I've ever had to look after.

"We're a very young close-knit group and everybody felt for Brendan.

"As a result, the mood was very sombre but I tried my best to get everybody upbeat, especially as Brendan had asked for us to come away with three points.

"But I'm not going to use that as an excuse!

"We started really well and should have scored four or five times in the first half and I simply couldn't understand how we'd gone in at half time 2-0 down.

"Jason Cowley hit the crossbar with a bullet header when just another half inch lower, he would have broken the net.

"John Pykett also looked certain to score but Bedford's goalkeeper pulled off a 'worldie' of a save. I still don't know now how he managed to get to it!

"I couldn't believe we'd gone 2-0 down but after we missed our fourth or fifth good chance of the game, you just start to think it isn't going to be your day and that was the mentality.

"If we had pulled a goal back after half time, we would have been right back in the game, but instead Bedford scored and that third goal finished us off.

"The third goal completely killed us and although we never threw in the towel, we became vulnerable and there was no excuse for that.

"We had a bad day at the office, but we know how to respond.

"It was a reality check and we will learn from it.

"Every single player knew they hadn't performed to their best and we will put that right. You learn more about the players in defeat rather than victory.

"We missed chances against Bedford, especially in the first half and got punished for it as though missed chances came back to haunt us".

Sporting were due to visit title rivals Corby Town this week but have no fixture on Saturday as proposed opponents Thame are involved in the FA Trophy with the game now re-arranged for Tuesday, November 20.

But Mason insisted: "They'll be plenty of work going on behind the scenes. Our performance against Bedford in the second half wasn't up to standard but luckily the teams around us dropped points as well, so there is cause to remain positive".