Sporting seemed to have developed the knack of performing when it really matters and this match was no exception with a controlled and adept win against Nuneaton Griff writes Phil Baker.
The proceedings began with an impeccably observed one-minute silence to honour the footballers from Chapecoense who died in the tragic air crash earlier this week.
Then from the kick-off the Rouslers were fast out of their blocks, forcing a succession of corners but all were successfully defended.
Carrying on from where he left off last week, Jason Cowley looked to be the biggest threat to home side and nearly got the opener on the 9th minute when he attempted to lob Courtney Belford but the well-built keeper was well-positioned to make the catch before any damage resulted.
A minute later Griff had their first good chance but Tyson Knights header was easily gathered by Chris Jay. That effort appeared to inspire the team in blue as they started to occupy more time in their opponents half culminating in a gilt-edged chance on the 20th minute when Jay had to make a reflex save from Tyson at the far post following a corner.
However their impetus ran out a couple of minutes later when Sporting took the lead. Jack Wilson put a delightful ball through the Griff back four that Cowley picked up leaving him to marginally win a one-to-one with Belford and the resulting shot slowly rolled over the line.
Sam Wills had a good shot turned wide a few minutes later whilst at the other end Knight was always looking dangerous but on this occasion put his shot over the bar.
With five minutes to go before the break, Cowley again used his superior pace to win a 50-50 ball that he knocked to Andy Nicol in the box only to up-ended by Ryan Aston who for his trouble got a yellow card but somewhat fortunately for him, Sam Wills blasted the resulting penalty over the bar.
Knowing they had to get back into the match, Griff pushed forward from the start of the second-half, but chances were few apart from a lob attempted by Matt Brennan from 40 yards but Jay was alert and made an easy catch.
Five minutes later Nicol was substituted by debutant, Luke Shorthouse who was immediately into action as he received a fine pass out on the right from Sam Wills. The lanky striker rounded two defenders before making a cross from a short distance that Ryan Millerchip fired into his own net to double the Bromsgrove sides lead.
With a reasonably comfortable, cushion manager Paul Smith decided not to risk anything against a side capable of fighting back so Nathan Walker came on for Cowley to tighten up the midfield and really apart from a free-kick by Chris Lloyd that Belford saved well and shot from Walker that Jack Leech cleared off the line, neither side got any closer to scoring.
So Sporting get a deserved win against a useful side and go into the FA Vase draw for the first time on Monday.
Nuneaton Griff: Courtney Belford, Darren Hutchinson (Connor McEwan 71 mins), Ryan Aston, Jack Leech, Ryan Millerchip, Chris Tullins (Capt.), Harry Walker-Donavan, Sam Belcher, Matt Brennan (John Russell 82 mins), Tyson Knight, Tom Bates, Jake Staniforth.
Substitute not used: Jack Colley.
Yellows: Ryan Aston (41 mins), Sam Belcher (42 mins), Chris Tullins (47 mins), John Russell (90+2 mins).
Sporting: Chris Jay, Aaron Roberts, Jack Wilson, Sam Wills (Capt), Luke Edwards, Danny Morris, Chris Lloyd, Robbie Bunn, Jason Cowley (Nathan Walker 82 mins), Andy Nicol (Luke Shorthouse 64 mins), Reece Hewitt.
Substitutes not used: Craig Jones, Tom Craine, Jake Willcox
Goals: Jason Cowley (22 mins), Own Goal (66 mins).
Yellows: Jason Cowley (18 mins), Luke Shorthouse (89 mins).
Referee: Mr T Walker (Belper)
Assistants: Mr R Davies (Ilkeston), Mr D Constable (Derby).
Weather: Cool, dry.
Sporting Man of the Match: Sam Wills