An assured and steady display from Sporting saw them gain a valuable win against one of their nearest rivals and leave them needing just one more victory to win the league writes Phil Baker.
A large crowd made up of mainly Bromsgrove supporters descended on the Leicester Road Stadium with my tension and anticipation in the air.
Both teams looked to be a little nervous early on and like boxers appeared to be sizing up the opposition before making any attacking moves. As a result most of the play was in the middle of the field and any attempt by either side to create chances were smothered by well-disciplined back fours.
The first real incident of the night came on the 16th minute when Sporting’s Jason Cowley went down in the box when challenged by Josh Unsworth but much to the chagrin of the away fans, referee Mr Kidd signalled no foul.
Ten minutes later and Sporting were now getting further forward and dominating the play. Chris Lloyd put a first-time ball into the box only for Cowley’s attempted shot to be deflected over the bar. Lloyd then took the resulting corner floating over a delightful ball to the far post that was met by Luke Edwards who with time and space available made no mistake as he headed into the top of Will Highland’s net to give his team the lead.
With nerves now steadied, Sporting concentrated more on retaining possession and holding the ball in midfield before attempting to thread passes to the front runners but precious few chances were created and the scoreline remained unchanged at half-time.
After the interval, the game opened up for both sides as Leicester Road did what they knew they had to do and push forward if they were to get back into the match. With 54 minutes gone, Aaron Roberts supplied Reece Hewitt down the left but the slippery winger put his shot over the bar. A couple of minutes later, the home side had their best chance of the match when Greg Downes put Joe Lyne through but he too hooked his shot over the bar.
Sporting’s best chance of the half came on the 62nd minute when Hewitt was clattered just outside the penalty area only for Chris Lloyd’s place kick to bounce of the bar.
Later on Robbie Bunn’s 25-yard strike went agonizingly close whist Cowley nearly got a second for Sporting when he intercepted a poor clearance from Highland but his shot went wide.
Leicester Road’s plan was to pump balls up to their forwards but few met their target mainly due to excellent defensive play particularly by Danny Morris who mopped up all threats.
Mr Kidd added four minutes of added time and when he finally blew for the end a mixture of relief and delight engulfed the large hoard of visiting supporters.
Leicester Road: Will Highland, Jordan Burrows, Jack Harrison, Greg Downes (Capt), Josh Unsworth, Callum Earls McGlinchey (Amarvir Sandhu 59 mins), Joe Lyne, Matt Stenson, Jake Holt, Billy Bennett (Sam Munton 84 mins).
Substitutes not used: Josh Smith, Jack Humphries, Ken Hughes.
Yellow: Jake Holt (90+1 mins)
Sporting: Jon Brown, Aaron Roberts, Danny Morris, Liam Spink (Keenen Meakin-Richards 72 mins), Craig Jones (Capt), Luke Edwards, Chris Lloyd (Alfie Bloomer 72 mins), Robbie Bunn, Jason Cowley, Ahmed Ali, Reece Hewitt.
Subs not used: Sam Wills, John Pykett, Luke Shorthouse.
Goal: Luke Edwards (26 mins).
Yellows: Liam Spink (67 mins), Luke Edwards (78 mins)
Referee: Mr T Kidd (Coventry)
Assistants: Mr S King (Melton Mowbray), Mr L Fletcher (Leicester)
Weather: Cool, dry.
Sport Man of the Match: Danny Morris.