BROMSGROVE Sporting’s magnificent run in the FA Vase was brought to an end as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to higher-ranked Cleethorpes Town.
A first minute goal from Gary King was enough to ensure the Northern Counties East League Premier Division leaders progressed into the final with a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Jason Cowley had a golden opportunity in the second half to level the scores after being sent clean through but the striker was unable to guide his lobbed effort below the crossbar.
Sporting battled hard and were well on top throughout the whole of the second half but they failed to bring an end to Cleethorpes’ unbeaten home record.
Right from the off, the visitors’ sluggish start was quickly punished by The Owls after just 50 seconds as a long ball up field was collected by King who provided a deft touch which sent the ball over Ryan Price and into the far corner.
Despite their setback, the Rouslers came back as Robbie Bunn saw a drive well saved by Liam Higton at his near post seven minutes later.
Marc Cooper then saw header flash past the far post midway through the half before Reece Hewitt saw an individual effort fly over the bar after 28 minutes.
Sporting then had a good chance to equalise four minutes later as Aaron Roberts was hacked down on the edge of the area, however, Sam Will’s free-kick sailed over the bar.
But a determined Wills came close to making it 1-1 just three minutes before the break when he made some space for himself on the edge of the box before arrowing a shot agonisingly wide of the bottom left-hand corner.
After the break, it took ten minutes for the first chance of the game as Cooper found himself some space on the edge of area but blazed his effort wide of the mark.
However, three minutes later Sporting should have been level. Cowley raced through on goal, Higton slipped, but Sporting’s star man could not keep his lobbed effort down and it sailed over the bar.
But the Rouslers would not give up as they continued to hound the Cleethorpes defence and Cowley again proved instrumental. He was brought down on the edge of the area on the 73rd minute and Cowley took the set-piece which forced a good save out of Higton before Matt Bloomer saw a header for Cleethorpes sail over from a corner.
With three minutes to go, Sporting had another dangerous free-kick about 25 yards out from goal after Hewitt was brought down but Cowley saw an effort once more go down the throat of Higton.
Cleethorpes though, proved to be a resilient outfit and they managed to run down the clock to secure victory and bring an end to Sporting’s Wembley dreams.
Cleethorpes: Liam Higton, Tim Lowe, Peter Winn, Jack Richardson (Liam Dickens 18 mins), Matt Bloomer, Matt Coleman, Luke Mascall (Jonathan Oglesby 69 mins), Alex Flett, Marc Cooper, Gary King (Andy Taylor 72 mins), Liam Davis.
Substitutes not used: Josh Sunter, Kieran Wressell
Goal: Gary King (1 min)
Yellow: Alex Flett (88 mins).
Sporting: Ryan Price, Aaron Roberts, Danny Morris, Ahmed Ali (Luke Shorthouse 59 mins), Craig Jones (Capt.), Luke Edwards (Will Tibbetts 84 mins), Liam Spink, Robbie Bunn, Jason Cowley, Sam Wills (Andy Nicol 59 mins), Reece Hewitt.
Substitutes not used: Keenen Meakin-Richards, Jack Wilson
Referee: Mr D Deadman (March)
Assistants: Mr I Smedley, Mr S Clayton
4th Official: Mr M Dicicco
Weather: Cool, breezy.
Sporting Man of the Match: Danny Morris.
Reporter: Craig Gibbons of The Bromsgrove Standard