Sporting returned to their previous home ground of the Beehive at Studley to face Earlswood Town but with a cold wind blowing and a heavy pitch, it was the new tenants who held on to a narrow win.
With injuries and absences dictating the Sporting line-up, Nick Harris moved to centre-back whilst Danny Deehan started on the right of defence. Jon Rogers partnered the improving Jovan Blake-Walker up front.
Although the pitch had dried somewhat over night, it was still quite muddy in the middle as both sides attempted to use the flanks to move forward. The first quarter of an hour was fairly even with neither team really testing each other defence but Earlswood broke the stalemate on 16 minutes. Matt Ross attempted to clear a loose ball out of his own box but it only went as far as Charisma Agbonlahor, brother of Aston Villa's Gabriel, who tapped it back into the goal area where lively winger Sam Hawker hit home from just a few yards out.
With a fair bit of encouragement from the bench, Sporting livened themselves up a bit. Playing neat football on the ground was pretty impossible so like their opponents use of the long ball was the order of the day. Jovan Blake-Walker did well holding the ball up front whilst Keith Draper had the best chances going wide on 20 minutes and just before half-time.
After the break, Sporting continued in the same vein and had the edge for much of the second half but as with other matches since the New Year the conditions really did not suit their preferred quick-passing game. The hard-working Jon Rogers gave way to Andy Nicol on 62 minutes and his more direct approach nearly paid dividends a few minutes later when his well-placed shot beat Richard Taylor between the Earlswood sticks only to bounce off the post for a corner.
That really was the last good chance for either side. Sporting did attempt to press for the equaliser though in fairness to the home side's back four, they soaked up everything thrown at them. Andy Nicol had a half-chance moments before the 90 minutes were up whilst James Turk who had a quite game for him forced Taylor to make a low dive to save a minute into added time.
In the clubhouse afterwards, assistant manager Ron Mellor was disappointed but not angry. He though the goal came before the Sporting back four had settled and that more use should have been made of the wings where conditions were better. There was an improved performance in the second half and despite the loss, several players did have a good game.
Earlswood: Richard Taylor, Ben Boazman (Dale Edwards 85 mins), Ben Judd, Matthew Cross, Michael Batchelor, Jack Walton, Danny Carter (Nicholas Briggs 66 mins), Chris Chapman, Charisma Agbonlahor (Laurence Martin 71 mins), Sam Wills (capt), Sam Hawker.
Subs not used: Michael Skerrett, Danny Rolfer.
Sporting: Tom Savage, Aaron Roberts, Danny Deehan, Matt Ross (capt), Nick Harris, Lee Dunkley, Elliot Nash (Bradley Whitehouse 83 mins), James Turk, Jovan Blake-Walker, Jon Rogers (Andy Nicol 66 mins), Keith Draper Jnr.
Subs not used: Gareth Davies, Ryan Gardiner, Jamie Parker.