Bromsgrove Sporting 4 Northfield Town 2
Smeldey Crooke Memorial Charity Cup Semi-Final
A MUCH-CHANGED Sporting outfit made heavy weather against plucky opponents from two divisions below but eventually prevailed to make their second cup final of the season, writes Phil Baker.
Playing downhill, the home side spent much of the opening period in their opponents half with pressure finally paying off on the 28th minute.
From a corner, Josh Westwood headed goalwards, beating Northfield ‘keeper Jack Hamilton.
Jordan Hartley headed off the line but unluckily for him on to the back of the head of his colleague Adam Williams only to see the ball ricochet into the net to give Sporting the lead.
The setback seemed to fire up Northfield who then started to show determination, particularly in mid-field, and just eleven minutes from their setback they evened things up when Hartley scored from close range after a well-worked move down the right.
Cue for Sporting to attempt to re-take the lead and almost from the re-start Kyle Turner forced Hamilton to make a very good double-save.
The Rouslers continued with a string of attacks up field but it was the visitors who went in at half-time with the advantage.
After another good move on the right, Lewis Jones found himself in a good position a few yards out, hitting home well beyond Chris Jay’s outstretched right arm.
The second half saw Sporting permanently camped in the Northfield half but dogged defending and the inability to just show that extra bit of class from the home side retained the visitors narrow lead.
Liam Spink had a penalty saved on the 63rd minute after Reece Hewitt was clattered in the box and with less than ten minutes to go a giant-killing looked to be on the cards.
However Luke Dugmore saved Sporting’s blushes on the 83rd minute with a beautifully struck free-kick that skimmed the ground, finding a gap in the Northfield defence and nudging just inside the right hand post.
Dugmore was now on fire and forced another top-drawer save from Hamilton two minutes later but his long-range attempt rattled off the bar.
It was Spink though who finally regained the lead for Sporting with just a couple of minutes to go when his swirling drive went into the top right-hand corner.
At the time though a Northfield player was injured causing Sean Farrell and former Rousler Elliott Nash to over-remonstrate with referee Mr Amor who then ordered both off for an early shower.
After working hard for over 90 minutes, Sporting striker, Connor Collins finally made it on to the scoresheet with six added minutes on the clock and with the easiest goal he will score all season when the ball was punted up field for him to tap into an empty net with the Northfield players including the ‘keeper all stranded after going up for a corner.
The final will now be played at the Victoria Ground on Saturday, May 7 when the opponents will be Pilkington XXX or Chlemsley Town who play their semi-final this Thursday.
Sporting take on Racing Club Warwick tomorrow night (7.45pm KO) before playing their final home game of the season against Heath Hayes on Saturday (3pm KO).