Bromsgrove Sporting vs Nuneaton Griff
Bromsgrove Sporting's succumbed to a well-executed game plan on Saturday afternoon, as they lost 1-0 to Nuneaton Griff in the Midland Football League Division One on Saturday afternoon.
Substitute Luke Shorthouse's 68th minute goal, together with a gameplan that prohibited the Rouslers and prevented them from expressing themselves, resulted in Sporting falling further behind leaders Coventry United.
The first thirty-five minutes were rather cagey, with Bromsgrove's Nathan Walker having two free kicks and a long-range effort test goalkeeper George Woodward, whilst Griff's Alex Naughton had a shot blocked on the line by Craig Jones.
The half really came alive inside the final ten minutes. A Will Tibbetts corner found the head of Jones, who had his effort cleared away before a delicious Aaron Roberts cross fell invitingly to the feet of Sean Brain, who could only put his one-on-one effort straight at Woodward.
A minute later, Liam Spink had a shot palmed wide and Brain had a close range effort hit the post.
Just before the half time whistle, Nuneaton had numerous opportunities to take a lead into the break. The lively Josh Ruff was able to stroll through a static Sporting defence and unleash a drive that was well saved by Chris Jay, the rebound scuffed wide by Naughton.
Ruff had another chance when his effort on the edge of the area hit the post, only to bounce off Jay and back towards the goal. Luckily for the Sporting stopper, he managed to get two grateful hands on it before it crept over the line.
The second half began as the first one finished; Danny Edmond blazing wide from close range for Nuneaton whilst Jones had yet another header cleared off the line for the home side.
The 63rd minute saw Brain have a header saved from a Tibbetts corner and unfortunately for Sporting, these missed chances were to prove costly, with Shorthouse being allowed to turn and shoot into the bottom corner, leaving Jay with no chance.
The game became stodgy following the goal, with Griff players becoming increasingly physical and their ill discipline continuing. Their final effort of note came twenty minutes from home, when Edmond squandered a gilt-edge chance with only Jay to beat.
Unsurprisingly, the away side were running down the clock and time wasting whenever possibly but this was not clamped down on and it certainly stunted any shoots of creativity from the home side.
Sporting looked to have equalised ten minutes from home, as Walker's twenty yard effort skimmed across the ground and clipped the inside of the post, only to skid across the goalmouth and out of harms way.
Sporting substitutes Dale Edwards and Kyle Turner provided the team's last chance, as Edwards' cross found the head of Turner, who could only guide his effort well wide.
A frustrating afternoon for Sporting and the fracas caused by over-zealous Griff players after the whistle did not help matters. Not the dazzling force they usually are but this was largely down to Nuneaton Griff's expert tactics of hassling and harrying them.
The defeat has put a major dent in Bromsgrove's title hopes, as they failed to capitalise on leaders Coventry United's draw against Hinckley and now find themselves five points adrift having played a game more.