Bromsgrove Sporting 6 (2) FBT International Academy 1 (0) at The Victoria Ground
BROMSGROVE SPORTING hosted the FBT International Academy on Tuesday evening in a friendly match for Bromsgrove boss Brendan Kelly to assess his wider squad, writes Ben Fox.
The Rouslers took on the mid-week match as they look to gun for the highest possible position in their maiden season of step 4 football, running out 6-1 winners, with under 18’s striker Matt Higgins firing a hat-trick.
Bromsgrove started brightly against a team whose squad mostly consists of players who had been released by league clubs.
Sporting managed to take the lead on nine minutes after an indirect free kick was laid off to Jason Cowley, who continued his fine goal scoring form of late by bending an effort into the far right corner – his seventh goal in four games.
The FBT almost responded ten minutes later when skilful work from Deji Alabal allowed him to wriggle past his man, before laying off to Ethan Padden who was denied Aaron Roberts’ superb block on the line.
Centre-half Yemi Ayoele should have equalised for the visitors but somehow failed to put his shot wide of the mark from 8 yards out.
John Pykett’s cross was met by Cowley, who rounded Teo Hamelin and tapped into an empty net for his second of the game.
The second half started slowly, after several Bromsgrove changes entered the fray.
Substitute Higgins notched the first goal of his debut hat-trick when Dan O’Sullivan played him through to finish low across Hamelin.
Seconds later though, The FBT pulled one back.
Kyron Richards powered a free header home from a free kick to reduce the deficit.
Bromsgrove responded in fashion though, with Higgins grabbing a second after looping a header over Hamelin with ten minutes left to play.
Five minutes later, fellow under 18s debutant Owain Taylor had his name on the scoresheet.
He tapped in from close range after Higgins’ deflected effort was saved into his path.
Just before the final whistle, Higgins completed his hat-trick, emphatically heading home from two yards out from an O’Sullivan corner.
It completed a successful evening for the Rouslers, following on from their 1-0 league victory at the weekend over Bedford Town, courtesy of Richard Gregory’s first-half strike.
It helped guide the resilient Rouslers to a narrow win, which brings them to within a point of leaders Peterborough Sports – albeit having played three games more.
A quiet opening to the game was sparked into life when Gregory poked home the only goal of the game from Josh Quaynor’s pass on 19 minutes.
Jason Cowley went closest to extending the lead in the first-half, but his shot proved too tame for keeper Ashlee Jones, whilst Jack Wilson went on his travels from defence and sent a shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Nathan Hayward and Kieren Westwood had hits from distance drift over the crossbar after the break, whilst Cowley’s free-kick forced a superb stop by Jones – who got down low the the swerving strike.
Rouslers stopper Jono Brown sent Gregory through with a long punt upfield in his direction, leading to a venomous volley from the striker that was well kept out.
It took 68 minutes for Bedford to go close, Tony Mendy fluffing a huge chance when meeting a cross in a promising position.
Sporting had to dig in deep as Bedford pressure mounted, but Rouslers put their bodies on the line to prevent their goal being breached, and eventually saw out the win.
Bromsgrove have a week to prepare for their next fixture, when travelling to league leaders Peterborough Sports on Saturday 23rd February (3pm) – a game which could have a huge bearing on their season.