A sterner test for Sporting than the match at Lichfield last Saturday with the games played at a faster pace and somewhat more competitive.
Things got off to a quick start with both Jamie Clarke and Richard Gregory testing the home defence in the first few minutes but really Bilston could have taken the lead had their striker not stumbled in the box after making a good 25 yard run.
Pressure from the Rouslers finally paid off on the eight minute when Clarke received a pass on the edge of the goal area and tapped home unmarked.
Seven minutes later, Clarke should have doubled his tally but headed John Pykett’s cross just wide.
Clarke was still the main threat to the Bilston defence when he hit the post on the eighteenth minute and although Gregory had an effort saved from the re-bound he was judged offside when he finally found the net after a goalmouth scramble.
Bilston still had the occasional break up field but poor finishing allow the away defence to mop up any threats, whilst at the other end resolute defending and good goalkeeping kept the score the same until half-time.
After the break manager Brendan Kelly made eight changes and initially Bilston took the initiative forcing ‘keeper Jon Brown into a couple of decent saves. Helal Albaarini hit a shot over the bar on the 70th minute when it might have been easier to put in the net and Harry Harris had a good effort well-saved a couple of minute later.
Towards the end of the match, Charlie Dowd got more into the game but again the home defence soaked up the pressure he created.
Several good performances tonight leaves manager Kelly with some difficult decisions as to his final squad.
Bilston squad: Tom James, George Jenkins, Todd Perry, Kaine Butler, Ryan Williams, Kieran Smith, Ross Clarke, Sam Malley, Dilano Reid, Luke Simons, Liam Haynes, Marylson Cariata, Sean Craver, Alex Brogan, Gurpreet Singh, Magdy Ahmed, Lewis Leach, Tarrike Thomas, Jason Hewitt, Ryan Mattis, Isaac Allen, Dwayne Khumalo.
Sporting players used:
First half: Reece Francis, Tom Rankin, Danny Jackman, Craig Jones, Josh Quaynor, Nathan Hayward, Helal Albaarini, Aaron Williams, Richard Gregory, Jamie Clarke, John Pykett.
Second half: Jon Brown, Aaron Roberts, Danny Morris, Guy Clark, Marcel Simpson, Harry Harris, Josh Quaynor, Danny Campbell, Helal Albaarini, Richard Gregory, Charlie Dowd,
Goal: Jamie Clarke (8 mins)
Crowd: ~ 140 Weather: warm, humid.
Reporter: Phil Baker