Bromsgrove Sporting vs Coventry Copsewood
A Will Tibbetts masterclass guided Bromsgrove Sporting to a 5-2 victory over Coventry Copsewood in the Midland Football League Division One at the Victoria Ground on Saturday afternoon.
The talented winger netted four of the Rouslers' goals in a game played in atrocious conditions, which was occasionally overshadowed by rash challenges and flared tempers.
Sean Brain was the other scorer for Sporting but it was the home side who conceded first as Michael Healy scored the opener.
Ryan Harkin grabbed a late goal for the visitors but the game was long gone by then, as Sporting cemented their position at the top of the league. However, with Coventry United having four games in hand, it is they who are still in control of their own fate.
The game started off slowly, with Bromsgrove having the best early chances as Brain lobbed a close range effort over the bar and Jozsef Jakab putting an effort wide from a tight angle.
Sporting had further chances to break the deadlock inside the first half hour but were initially made to pay for these squandered opportunities, as Danny Fraser's saved effort fell kindly at Healy's feet, who had an open goal to slot the ball into.
The first unsavoury incident of the afternoon came ten minutes before the interval, as Sporting's Danny Morris was booked for a tackle and Copsewood captain George Whitelaw received the same punishment for feigning injury in the heated aftermath.
Brain had a chance to level proceedings on the 43rd minute but his effort was diverted wide by Coventry goalkeeper Scott Dutton.
The half-time whistle was met with a fracas in the tunnel, as the game threatened to spiral out of control with fiery confrontations a plenty.
Fortunately for Sporting, they came out a different team after the break, as they drew level five minutes in thanks to Tibbetts slotting home from a fine pass by substitute Connor Collins.
Three minutes later, Copsewood were reduced to ten men, as a reckless tackle by Reece Blackmore gave referee Bradley Hall no choice but to give the forward his marching orders.
This allowed Sporting to assert their authority on the game. Collins found himself in another promising position to score but once again selflessly set up a teammate. This time it was Brain who benefited, converting into an empty net on the hour mark.
The lead was doubled just four minutes later, as Brain put in a clever pass across the box that fell invitingly at the feet of Tibbetts, who delightfully chipped the ball over keeper Dutton and into the goal.
The game was put beyond any doubt twenty minutes from home when Tibbetts emphatically bagged his hat trick by slamming a penalty into the top of the net after Brain was brought down in the area.
Sporting fifth goal and fourth in a mere twelve minutes came after Liam Spink delivered a sumptuous ball across the area and, not for the first time in the afternoon, Tibbetts was in the right place at the right time to pounce.
His fourth came with a slight slice of fortune; his original effort from close range hit Dutton, only for the ball to fortuitously rebound off the Sporting player and past a crestfallen Dutton.
Copsewood made sure they book ended the scoring, as Lawrence Rawlings set up Harkin perfectly to slot home a consolation goal from inside the box with a minute of normal time to spare.
Sporting could easily have had more than five in the second half, especially if the gifted Reece Hewitt was able to convert some of his chances after numerous superb solo runs.
Eventually a facile victory for Sporting but with Coventry United and Nuneaton Griff both winning, the league is still finely poised as the season draws to a close. A cup final next up for Bromsgrove, as they play Alvechurch in the Worcestershire Senior Urn on Wednesday evening.
Sporting: Chris Jay, Aaron Roberts, Danny Morris (Reece Hewitt 55 mins), Luke Dugmore, Craig Jones, Simon Fitter, Will Tibbetts, Liam Spink, Jozsef Jakab (Connor Collins 27 mins), Sam Wills, Sean Brain (Kyle Turner 72 mins).
Subs not used: Brendan Kelly, 'mit EminoÄŸlu
Goals: Tibbetts (50, 65, 70 [pen], 72 mins), Brain (60 mins)
Yellows: Morris (36 mins), Hewitt (60 mins)
Copsewood: Scott Dutton, Jordan Sims, Ashley Beddows, Liam Cairns, George Whitelaw, Kyle Barnett, Lawrence Rawlings, Adam Civzelis (Adam Lock 77 mins), Michael Healy (Connoll Farrell 63 mins), Reece Blackmore, Danny Fraser (Ryan Harkin 85 mins).
Goals: Healy (31 mins), Harkin (89 mins)
Yellows: Whitelaw (36 mins), Barnett (50 mins), Fraser (85 mins)
Red: Blackmore (52 mins)
Referee: Mr B Hall (Great Barr)
Assistants: Mr C Thompson (Marlbrook), Mr I Lawson (Catshill)
Weather: Heavy rain, cold.
Sporting Man of the Match: Will Tibbetts
Reporter: Max Banner