The Total Motion Midland Combination Premier Division – Saturday 21st April 2018 3:00 p.m. kick-off
Loughborough University 1 (0) Bromsgrove Sporting 3 (1) at The Holywell Sports Complex
Where to start? Either with Sporting having won two trophies in three days, winning back to back promotions as the league champions or for overcoming to gritty Loughborough University team to come away with a hard-earned but deserved win?
Sporting only needed a draw to be certain of promotion but with a win and other results going their way the championship was secured at the same time giving Sporting fans the opportunity to celebrate for the second time in a week after the victory against Lye Town in the Worcestershire Senior Urn, two days before.
The sun shone in warm Spring conditions as the two teams kicked off on the billiard table playing surface at Loughborough University’s superb sports stadium.
Both goalkeepers saw early action as George Hobbs for Loughborough saved from Jason Cowley on the third minute whilst at the other end, Reece Francis for Sporting used his feet to stop Alex Dinsmore a couple of minutes later.
Cowley though was welled fired-up and putting in his usual shift that resulted in three more close chances in the next fifteen minutes before the hard-working striker finally helped his team get in front when he picked up a long-range pass from Aaron Roberts, twice won and lost the ball in a tussle with University centre-half Joel Bonner before crossing into the box for Richard Gregory to hit an angled shot that went under the diving Hobbs.
Liam Armstrong could have doubled the Rouslers’ lead a minute later but having done all the hard work getting into a shooting position, stumbled and missed a good opportunity.
Just before half-time, the Scholars gained a free-kick just outside the penalty area but Alex Read but his effort over the bar.
No team likes sitting on a one-goal lead and Sporting came out for the second period looking to consolidate their position and that duly came on the 54th minute courtesy of a cross from the left by Drew Canavan who floated over a neat ball to the far post that was hit at a very narrow angle by John Pykett along the goal-line; Jacob Croud hooked it away but the linesman deemed that it has crossed the line so cue for another goal celebration.
Sporting were now well on top and continued to dominate play and could have had a third on the 66th minute when Armstrong’s low header hit the post only for Cowley to sky the rebound over the bar.
Loughborough though did have their moments and got a goal back on the 72nd minute when Dinsmore converted a penalty after James Daly had been fouled in the box.
Hobbs who had made a number of useful saves earlier in the game, made another with five minutes to go but there was little he could do a couple of minutes into added time when Cowley won a dual against Bonner leaving him plenty of time to round the home ‘keeper for Sporting’s third and his thirty-first of the season.
At the final whistle, a huge cheer came from the 400 plus away supporters who embraced their heroes on the pitch and started off what was to be a long night of celebrations.
Loughborough: George Hobbs, Charlie Lewis, Eric Duah (Dan Hanson 81 mins), Danny Taylor, Joel Bonner, Jacob Croud, Max Bardsley-Rowe, Luke Moran (Matty Crookes 65 mins), James Daly, Alex Read (Ben Last 55 mins), Alex Dinsmore (Capt.).
Substitutes not used: Oliver Davis, Jamie Hilton.
Goal Alex Dinsmore (72 mins, penalty).
Sporting: Reece Francis, Aaron Roberts, Jack Wilson, Liam Armstrong, Craig Jones (Capt.), Danny Morris, John Pykett, Josh Quaynor (Luke Dugmore 65 mins), Jason Cowley, Richard Gregory (Guy Clark 90+4 mins), Drew Canavan (Harry Harris 81 mins).
Substitute not used: Bradley Carter.
Goals: Richard Gregory (20 mins), John Pykett (54 mins), Jason Cowley (90+2 mins).
Referee: Mr J Clarke (Coventry) Assistants: Mr T Cairns (Bedworth), Mr S Griffiths (Nuneaton)
Sporting Man of the Match: Liam Armstrong
Crowd: 652 Weather: Warm, sunny
Reporter: Phil Baker