The league title race is still on for Sporting as they overcame a strong and determined Lichfield side for the second time in a couple of weeks. Brownsfield Park has never been a happy hunting ground for the Rouslers but at long last and at the sixth attempt, they came away with a win and keep up the pressure on leaders Coventry United.
Playing uphill, on a soft pitch and with a strong wind against them, Sporting had the elements to contend with as well as opponents whose own league ambitions are far from over. However the away side made their intentions known right from the kick-off as Sean Brain shot wide following a neat exchange with Jozsef Jakab in the first minute.
Five minutes later Lichfield caused a few hearts to flutter as a corner from Keenen Richards went right straight through the goal area without anybody managing to get a touch.
However Sporting's pressure paid off on the ninth minute following a well-placed ball from mid-field by Simon Fitter that by-passed the offside trap to Will Tibbetts who swiftly got to the by-line before crossing only for centre-back Richard Robinson to scuff the ball past his own 'keeper Shardon Martinez.
Sporting were now in command and spared no efforts to increase their lead with Reece Hewitt and Nathan Walker the main playmakers in mid-field keeping the front-runners well-supplied.
The second goal came on the 37th minute with Hewitt and Aaron Roberts combining before feeding to Tibbetts in the box who finally drove home from short range after a goalmouth scramble.
After the interval and playing downhill with the following wind, attack FOR Sporting was still deemed to be the best form of defence. Joe Jakab playing up front had few excuses though when on 54 minutes, he skied a cross from Sean Brain over the bar that would have been easier to bury into the net.
Lichfield continued with their own game plan of harrying their opponents and moving the ball round quickly. Their best move was on 78 minutes when they beat the Sporting back four and Jake Willcox made a clumsy tackle on substitute Tony Clarke earning himself a yellow card. A yard further forward and it could have been a penalty and a red as the last man. Keenen Richards took the free kick bending a hard shot it round the wall. Chris Jay between the sticks for the Rouslers was well-positioned and punched to clear any danger.
From then on neither side had any real chances and Mr Kuzmanovic finally blew up with just a couple of minutes of added time played.
So another useful three points for Sporting who remain in second place. Simon Fitter returned looking as keen and capable as ever and a special mention to Aaron Roberts making his 100th appearance in a Sporting shirt.
Lichfield: Sherdon Martinez, Lewis Bourne (Tony Clarke 46 mins), Joe Haines, Keenen Meakin-Richards (Capt.), Richard Robinson, Mick Briscoe, Andy Francis, Dave Yonwin (Martin Crawford 46 mins), Tyron Smith, Michael Taylor (Philip McKerdy 60 mins), Tom Evans.
Substitutes not used: Dexter Ravenhill, Jeorge Smith.
Yellows: Taylor (24 mins), Bourne (32 mins), Robinson (86 mins)
Sporting: Chris Jay, Simon Fitter, Aaron Roberts, Nathan Walker, Craig Jones (Capt.), Jake Willcox, Will Tibbetts, Reece Hewitt, Jozsef Jakab (Connor Collins 62 mins), Liam Spink, Sean Brain (Ethan Hanks 75 mins)
Substitutes not used: Lucky Nwosu, Kyle Turner, Umit EminoÄŸlu
Goals: Own Goal (Robinson, 9 mins), Tibbetts (37 mins)
Yellows: Brain (62 mins), Willcox (79 mins)
Referee: Mr D Kuzmanovic (Lichfield)
Assistants: Mr M Mooney (Lichfield), Mr K Bartlett (Tamworth)
Weather: Cold, windy
Sporting MoM: Simon Fitter
Report: Phil Baker