BROMSGROVE Sporting ended the season with further disappointment after losing 2-1 to Pilkington XXX in the final of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Charity Cup.
After missing out on the Midland League Division One title to Coventry United and the Worcestershire Senior Urn to Alvechurch, the Rouslers suffered further disappointment as goals from Joseph Wykes and Craig Oldfield ensured the Pilks claimed silverware.
Reece Hewitt had pulled one back for Sporting in the 61st minute before Aaron Roberts was shown a straight red card for dissent in the 74th minute.
A bumper crowd of 704 made it to the Victoria Ground for the final game of the season and it took ten minutes for the Pilks to get their first opportunity of the game but Dale Kenny’s effort from the edge of the area skipped along the ground into the arms of Chris Jay.
Kenny’s frightening pace up top with Wykes commanding the right wing proved to be a wonderful combination as the latter put the visitors ahead in the 16th minute after capitalising on Sporting’s slack play at the back.
After Simon Fitter had played the ball back to Jay, as the Sporting number one tried to clear, in stepped Wykes to close the clearance down before prodding home into an empty net.
Wykes probably should have put the Pilks 2-0 up just minutes later but after drifting inside from the right, his effort was well blocked before the follow up from Kenny was eventually cleared from danger.
Sporting failed to settle as they continued to give the ball and free kicks away aplenty and it took until the 30th minute for the Rouslers to get a clear shot at goal but after turning neatly in the box, Sam Wills’ strike was blocked and dealt with by a well-drilled Pilkington defence.
The lively Kenny must have wondered how he had not put his side 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time when, after ghosting past a couple of Sporting defenders, he blasted a shot which crashed against the underside of the bar and away to safety.
After the interval, Sporting pushed for the equaliser and their efforts were nearly rewarded in the 48th minute but after collecting Luke Dugmore’s cross, Roberts guided a header over the bar.
Kenny again proved to be the outlet for the Pilks as his supreme pace allowed him to easily get in behind the Rouslers defence and he earned his side a penalty in the 53rd minute when he was hacked down in the area by Fitter.
Oldfield took the penalty, drilling an effort into the bottom left corner of the net, just out of the reach of Jay who guessed correctly.
After the goal, Sporting seemed to step it up a notch and they got their just rewards just after the hour mark when a long ball up field saw Hewitt break free before guiding a delightful effort over the on-rushing Reece Francis to reduce the deficit.
Sporting’s hard work came undone in the 74th minute when Roberts received a straight red card for dissent towards the referee – a moment of madness for the defender.
As the Rouslers pushed for the equaliser, Pilks sat back and with pace up top, they looked the more likely to add the third and they nearly did but when Oldfield made his way up field, his throughball to Kenny somehow evaded him and was cleared to safety.
Pilkington nearly killed the game off after 90 minutes when Kenny once again broke through before cutting the ball back to Oldfield who poked his effort just wide.
Despite five minutes of injury time, the Pilks held on to claim a well-deserved victory on an afternoon where Sporting were nowhere near their best.