Report courtesy of Bromsgrove Standard’s Craig Gibbons
BROMSGROVE Sporting got back on the Midland League Premier Division winning trail with a 2-0 success at AFC Wulfrunians.
First-half goals from Richard Gregory and Sean Brain proved to be the difference at the CKW Stadium as last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Haughmond was quickly put to bed.
Manager Paul Smith made five changes to the team which suffered an agonisning defeat in Shropshire, with Guy Clark, Jack Wilson, Craig Jones, Sam Wills and Sean Brain coming in for Aaron Roberts, Josh Quaynor, Daniel Morris, Liam Holt and Drew Canavan.
And it did not take long for the visitors to get a stranglehold of the game, drawing first blood in the seventh minute.
John Bateman could only parry Wills’ fierce left-footed shot from the edge of the area into the path of Gregory who made no mistake from a couple of yards out to score in his sixth consecutive game.
And four minutes later it was 2-0 when Jason Cowley capitalised on a defensive mix-up in the middle of the park to set Brain free on goal, with the pacey striker firing into the far corner to grab his tenth goal of the season.
Despite the blistering start, Sporting’s tempo faded somewhat but were still well in control as it took Wulfrunians until the 36th minute to bring visiting keeper Reece Francis into action.
Jake Webb managed to find himself with just the former Cadbury Athletic stopper to beat but Francis denied the No.10 on the edge of area.
Five minutes later the industrious Brain came close to adding a third for Sporting but his shot back across goal flew wide of the near post as the visitors went into the break with a healthy 2-0 lead.
By contrast, the second half was not as action-packed as the first, with Sporting lacking a bit of quality in the final third which prompted boss Smith to shout ‘make the front three work’ and ‘to keep it simple’ from the touchlines.
Gregory, Cowley and Brain looked a lively trio up top and the latter forced a fine save from Bateman at his near post eight minutes into the second period.
Try as he might, a frustrated Cowley could not get himself on the scoresheet and his luck was out when a sumptuous lobbed effort with 22 minutes remaining hit the underside of the bar before bouncing on the wrong side of the line and cleared from danger.
And Gregory probably should have grabbed his 12th goal in a Sporting shirt since signing from Stafford Rangers with five minutes to go but he could only slice wide from ten yards out after Bateman flapped at Cowley’s deep free-kick.
Although Wulfrunians did not really offer much, they did well to not capitulate after conceding two quick-fire goals as Sporting claimed their first clean sheet in the league since October.