BROMSGROVE Sporting edged Sutton Coldfield Town with a hard-fought 2-1 victory on Boxing Day at the Victoria Ground, with Nathan Hayward and Jason Cowley earning an invaluable three points.
The visitors gave the hosts a real scare on ten minutes with the first real opening of the game, Jonathan Letford latched onto a loose ball wide of the post with Sporting keeper Jono Brown out of position, centring for Alex Moore who could only float the ball over the bar.
Winger Charlie Dowd had the first sighter for Sporting, when beating two players and firing a cross-cum-shot that glanced narrowly wide of the far corner.
Bromsgrove could not believe what they were witnessing when Sutton keeper Lewis Gwilliams pulled off an astounding save, after Richard Gregory’s driving shot was palmed away and a rising shot on the rebound from William Shorrock was tipped onto the bar to retain parity.
Dowd’s deliveries from out wide were continuing to cause problems, and the best chance yet fell when Cowley found a shot at goal tipped away, falling to the feet of Gregory who was unable to re-position himself in time to convert the rebound.
The continued pressure was substantiated though when Josh Quaynor’s corner kick was thumped home by the head of Hayward into the bottom-corner on 36 minutes, earning a deserved lead going into the break.
Immediately after the restart, Bromsgrove found themselves two goals to the good, this time Cowley getting on the scoresheet after a wonderful turn past a defender saw him fire the ball past Gwilliams.
And it was almost an instant reply from Sutton Coldfield when Jono Brown was called into action to deny James Beresford from point-blank range at the far post, after a cross from out wide evaded every player in the middle.
Shorrock was determined to add his name to the scoresheet and went very close to doing so when cutting inside and hammering a ferocious strike goalwards, which was well tipped away by the Sutton stopper.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, the visitors found some reprieve and a route back into the game thanks to James Nesbitt, when he broke through the middle of defence and rounded Brown for a simple finish, giving Sporting a much more stressful end to the game than had been warranted.
The hosts resumed the greater control of possession and chances following the goal but there was still no reward for Gregory, despite seeing a shot destined for the bottom-corner turned around the post by the resolute Gwilliams.
Sporting managed to see out the closing stages with some ease to secure the three points, and Bromsgrove manager Brendan Kelly was fully aware of his side’s control throughout the contest.
“We were very dominant and should have scored more, we looked a real threat at set pieces but after the second goal we pushed back and changed our mindset a little.
“We let them back into the game with a sloppy goal, but looking at the games over Christmas, we’re confident ahead of Dunstable having won eight games out of eight at home this season.”
Kelly was pleased with the performances of Cowley and goalkeeper Brown in particular following the win.
“Jason looked back to his old self today and always looked a threat, I thought he took his goal well. He gives us confidence even though we knew it would be a tough game.
“Jono (Brown) pulled off two or three important saves, he’s had to be patient and he’s taken his opportunity today. We’ve had a chat about things to improve in training and we’re continuing to work towards that” he said.
Sporting lie in second place following the win, after Peterborough Sports defeated Yaxley 3-0 to retain top spot, but have Saturday’s home game against AFC Dunstable and a trip to Coleshill Town on New Year’s Day to look forward to, as Brendan Kelly’s side look to continue to build momentum.