A HAT trick from Andy Nicol helped Bromsgrove Sporting cruise to their first win of 2017, as they comfortably dispatched Pershore Town 5-0 in the Midland Football League Division One on Monday afternoon.
Nicol bagged the opener in the 22nd minute with a neatly taken shot before doubling his tally with a sumptuous volley seven minutes later.
Luke Shorthouse thumped home Sporting’s third with virtually the last kick of the first half, with Nicol claiming the match ball a minute into the second 45 with a well taken effort.
Substitute Jason Cowley’s header into an empty net a minute from the end brought up Sporting’s fifth, capping off a result which has put Paul Smith’s men three points clear at the top of the league, with fellow title contenders Leicester Road and Hinckley both having their Monday fixtures postponed.
Nicol was looking lively in front of goal right from the get go, having a shot from close range go just wide and another deflected out for a corner inside the first 20 minutes.
His first would come thanks largely to a pinpoint ball from defender Aaron Roberts who, fresh from his deputy goalkeeping heroics of two days previous, found Nicol, allowing him to turn his defender before striking home past Pershore keeper Shaun Edwards.
Shorthouse almost capitalised on Edwards finding himself in no mans land, unfortunately for him his effort towards the open goal was curled just over the bar.
Sporting’s second came courtesy of a crisp volley from Nicol, although it was a fine team effort that contributed to the goal, with the resilient Liam Spink winning the ball originally from a fine tackle and consequently, Luke Edwards found Roberts, whose delicious cross found the lively goalscorer.
Pershore stopper Edwards helped prevent a third coming immediately after, making saves from both Reece Hewitt and Shorthouse, who in truth, will both regret not doing better with their respective shots from inside the area.
However, Shorthouse was to grab the third, as he confidently shrugged off a defender before making space and powering home with his left foot on the stroke of half time.
The fourth would come a minute into the second half, as Nicol completed his hat trick with some decent movement in the box and a smoothly taken effort to guarantee Sporting would be commencing the year with three points.
The twenty minutes that followed were somewhat subdued, although the remainder of the match could have easily seen Sporting double their tally.
Substitute Will Tibbetts had a shot from an acute angle saved, with Hewitt hitting the rebound wide before Jack Wilson had a chance from close range kept out by Edwards.
Tibbetts had another shot saved soon after, before Wilson saw his audacious effort from 25 yards scoot just wide of the post.
The fifth would come 89 minutes in, thanks to a powerful Sam Wills shot that was fumbled onto the crossbar by Edwards, leaving Cowley with the simplest of headers from no more than a yard out to convert.
A comprehensive win for Bromsgrove, with a disappointing Pershore failing to muster any opportunity of note throughout. Next up for the Rouslers, their huge FA Vase tie against Watford-based outfit Sun Sports.