A second win within the space of 4 days saw Sporting through to the semi-finals of the Smedley Crooke Cup writes Phil Baker.
Manager Paul Smith made nine changes to the team that beat Buckland Athletic on Sunday giving several of the youngsters from the under 21 and under 18 teams a run-out and a chance to impress.
On a mild but damp evening, Spartak started slightly brighter and had their first good chance when Nikander Uppal challenged Jon Brown in the Sporting goalmouth but fouled the keeper as he tried to shoot.
From then on though it was pretty much one way traffic as The Rouslers laid siege to the Barnt Green goal. Andy Nicol and Alfie Bloomer had several shots well saved by ‘keeper Raghban Ali though on the 11th minute the crossbar came to the aid of the home side after Nicol’s powerful header.
The pitch though was rapidly becoming a factor in the match as it got wetter and softer with a number of players finding it difficult to stay on their feet and sliding tackles (some badly timed!) becoming the tactic of choice.
However Green defended well and went in at half-time all square with no score on the board.
Both teams used up all their substitutes pretty quickly but with the pitch cutting up the game slowed down and chances reduced. However Sporting finally got the breakthrough on the 73rd minute when Aldin Kahriman fouled Andy Nicol in the box. The striker took the spot kick firing hard and low past Ali giving the ‘keeper no chance.
Green made a good attempt to get the equaliser but tired legs and a steady Sporting back row restricted their opportunities. Sporting did try to increase their lead with more efforts from Nicol and Bloomer but again found Ali in good form who kept everything out.
So Sporting progress in another competition but more importantly now look to get another three points in Saturday’s league match against Heath Hayes.
Spartak: Raghban Ali, Darren Green, Nathaniel Hare, Joe Simms, Chris Hanson, Ryan Froggatt (Nurradiin Ismael 61 mins), Scott Lindley, Aldin Kahriman, Nikander Uppal, Nathan Stoute (Johaine Thompson 65 mins), Reuel Prescod (Nurradiin Ismael 61 mins).
Substitutes not used: Reiss O’Connor, Kevon Henry.
Yellows: Darren Green (32 mins), Nathan Stoute (57 mins), Joe Simms (60 mins).
Sporting: Jon Brown, Aaron Roberts, Jack Wilson, Keenen Meakin-Richards (Lewis Kemp 46 mins), Jake Willcox (Dean Fisher 46 mins), Danny Morris (Capt, Craig Jones 61 mins), Will Tibbetts, Max Tranter, Andy Nicol, Alfie Bloomer, Ethan Hanks.
Substitutes not used: Luke Edwards, Robbie Bunn
Goal: Andy Nicol (73 mins, penalty)
Referee: Mr P Rodway (Rubery).
Assistants: Mr R Osbourne (Halesowen), Miss S Albrighton (Rubery).
Weather: Mild, drizzle.
Sporting Man of the Match: Max Tranter