By Jamie Arrowsmith 03/05 Updated: 03/05 17:34
BROMSGROVE Sporting secured third place in the Midland Combination Division One table with a hard fought 3-2 victory at Shirley Town on Saturday.
Blackwood and Littleton will fill the top two places and receive automatic to the Premier Division if they meet the ground criteria, leaving any other promotions dependent on considerations by the League’s Management Committee once all of the games are completed and league restructuring is discussed.
Sporting made a bright start at Shirley and their persistence paid dividends in the 11th minute when Dan Wilkes attempted to run through the home defence but he was fouled 20-yards from goal.
That allowed Kevin Banner to step up and curl home a superb free kick to open the scoring in the visitors’ favour.
It was almost 2-0 in the 19th minute when Keith Draper unleashed a powerful shot but home stopper Kenny Sanders was alert to his effort and tipped it over the bar.
Shirley drew level four minutes later when Mike Thurbon’s attempted clearance got caught in the wind and fell to Stuart Smith-Blain who fired past George Anderson.
Buoyed by their equaliser, Shirley continued to press forward and forced a corner that former Rousler Martin Keight converted to make it 2-1. It was almost 3-1 three minutes later but Anderson tipped a Leon Reid shot round the post.
Moments earlier Jon Rogers had come on for the injured Dan Wilkes and his presence had an immediate effect when he robbed Keight and slotted a precise shot under the diving Sanders.
Chrisi Conway had the final say of the first half, restoring the visitors’ lead with a goal of the season candidate when he saw Sanders off his line and lobbed him from 30-yards.
Shirley worked hard to try and equalise after the break, stretching Sporting’s defence for long periods.
The post kept one good effort out from Paul Longthorne whilst Anderson made a couple of brave stops from striker Chris Chapman.
It was a tense last ten minutes for the large contingent of fans who had made the short trip from Bromsgrove and there was some relief when the referee blew for the end after a couple of minutes of added time.
Sporting complete their season with a trip to Fairfield Villa on Saturday when a large crowd is expected at the Recreation Ground.
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