A BELOW par Bromsgrove Sporting were left licking their wounds after suffering a 3-2 defeat at in-form Haughmond.
The fourth-from-bottom Shropshire side, who had won their last two league outings, drew first blood at the Shrewsbury Sports Village in the ninth minute in somewhat fortuitous circumstances when Carl Rogers’ left-footed cross floated into the far corner.
Sporting were level just a minute after the restart when Richard Gregory’s deflected shot squeezed home before Steven Hole and Scott Ryan gave the fourth-from-bottom hosts a two-goal cushion with 20 minutes remaining.
Dan Preston pulled one back with six minutes to go but it was not enough as a below-par Sporting crumbled to defeat.
And with Midland League Premier Division leaders Coleshill Town beating the weather to secure a 3-1 victory at South Normanton United, it means Sporting now sit four points off the top with a game in hand.
After the confident display against Nuneaton Town in the Birmingham Senior Cup on Tuesday night, the strong cohort of Sporting fans who’d made the trip to Shropshire were expecting more of the same.
And the visitors started brightly with Gregory having a shot deflect behind and from the resulting corner Jason Cowley watched a header blocked on the line.
But Sporting were dealt an early hammer blow in the ninth minute when they fell behind.
Keeper Reece Francis could only punch Rogers’ long throw-in back to the No.6 whose instant delivery back into the danger zone beat everyone and nestled into the net with the help of the far post.
This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Sporting as from then on they struggled to get into any sort of rhythm, with much of the ball spent in the middle of the park and not in the final third.
But when the chances did come, Paul Smith’s men failed to take them with Aaron Roberts volleying over from Reece Hewitt’s knockback midway through the half while Cowley could only blaze over from the centre of goal with five minutes of the first period remaining.
Whatever was said by Smith at half-time seemed to work, though, as Sporting drew level immediately after the interval when Gregory’s deflected shot from the edge of the area wrong-footed Sam Jones in the Mond goal.
However, within the space of a couple of minutes the hosts were back in front.
Another long throw by Rogers caused mayhem in the Sporting penalty area and after the loose ball was not cleared, Mond’s top scorer Hole was on hand to grab his 21st goal of the season.
From the restart, Mond seemed to switch off and were lucky not to be pegged back once again when Cowley raced in on goal but he could only drag his effort wide of the far post.
Francis then pulled off a fine save on the hour mark, getting down low enough to get a strong right hand to Matthew Owen’s powerful effort from the edge of the area.
But there was nothing Francis could do ten minutes later when Ryan finished off a flowing Mond counter-attack with a low finish below the onrushing Sporting keeper to all-but seal the three points.
With time running out, a sense of urgency crept into Sporting’s play and it needed a flying save by Jones to tip Canavan’s fierce strike from 20 yards out finding the corner.
However, Jones was picking the ball out his net for a second time with five minutes remaining when Canavan’s corner from the left-hand side was nodded home by an unmarked Preston.
The Rouslers continued to push and once again Jones was forced to pull off another fine save to keep the visitors at bay just two minutes later, racing across his line quickly enough to push behind Cowley’s low effort.
Despite the late flurry of attacks, Sporting could not find the equaliser as Mond ran out deserved winners.
Report courtesy of Craig Gibbons (Bromsgrove Standard)