A momentous, turbulent game saw Bromsgrove Sporting come out spirited 3-1 winners against Wisbech Town, in an FA Vase Fourth Round Proper played in the perishingly cold Fens.
The first forty-five saw the home team largely dominate; fortunately for Sporting, keeper Reece Francis was on hand to make a string of fine saves to keep Wisbech at bay. Sporting had chances of their own, with Jason Cowley having the best of these; unfortunately, his one-on-one with experienced shotstopper Paul Bastock saw him strike the ball straight into his path.
Sporting came out for the second half with true spirit and grit. However, it wasn’t them who had the first opportunity of the period to open the deadlock. Wisbech had a golden chance to take the lead with an opportunity from close range but that man Francis was on hand again with a spectacular, instinctive save.
But the hour mark saw Sporting-time begin; firstly, a Richard Gregory shot was blocked by the arm of Jon Fairweather. A yellow card the first punishment, the second being a penalty drilled hard and low into the bottom corner by Gregory. Bastock stood rooted to the spot, Sporting bag the lead.
The advantage was doubled soon after, with Cowley cleverly finding impactful substitute Sean Brain with an intricate ball over the defence. Gracefully taking the ball around Bastock, Brain was left the simplest of tap-ins into an empty net. 2-0 Sporting, jubilation.
Celebrations were paused momentarily when Alex Beck volleyed home for Wisbech to half the deficit but the Sporting joy was soon restored, as Cowley was brought down in the area by Fairweather. His second yellow card; an early bath for him.
Before his second spotkick duel of the afternoon with Gregory; Bastock was booked for dissent. Up stepped Gregory; same outcome as before. 3-1. Up stepped Bastock… to the referee… with a bizarre tirade of abuse and hand gestures. Seemingly resigned to his fate, he picked up his towel and bottle and made his way off the pitch. His second yellow card from the referee saw him hurl more insults at the man in black. Wisbech down to nine, Wisbech down and out.
Sporting could have added to their lead; alas, it wasn’t needed, as the Rouslers secured the win, on a tough afternoon. Onto the last 16 we march!