BROMSGROVE Sporting moved to the summit of the Midland League Premier Division table with a 3-1 victory over county rivals Stourport Swifts.
Jason Cowley had given the Rouslers a 12th-minute lead before Matt Fulloway equalised eight minutes after the break.
Richard Gregory then struck twice – just like he did in the previous encounter at the Victoria Ground which ended by the same scoreline – as Paul Smith’s men now sit one point clear of second-placed Sporting Khalsa having played three games less.
Following their 3-1 victory over Wisbech Town in the last 32 of the FA Vase, Sporting boss Smith made four changes to the team with new signing Dan Preston, Jack Wilson, Liam Holt and Drew Canavan coming in for Josh Quaynor, Guy Clark, Sam Wills and Reece Hewitt.
And the returning Holt, who was ineligible for the Wisbech clash, forced Swifts keeper Dominic Richards into an early save at his near post inside the opening minute.
Fulloway then sent a free header over the bar from Ashley Parsons-Smith’s free-kick as the hosts began to get into their stride.
But they were halted in their tracks as the visitors grabbed the lead in spectacular style.
After Reece Francis gathered Parsons-Smith’s corner, he launched a long ball up to Cowley who skipped past his marker before lifting the ball over the onrushing Richards to complete a swift counter-attack.
But the goal only spurned Swifts into gear and they started to dominate proceedings.
Although it could have been 2-0 midway through the half if Gregory had managed to direct his acrobatic volley on target from Robbie Bunn’s corner.
And if it was not for the smart reflexes of Sporting keeper Reece Francis towards the end of the first period the hosts would have been level.
He first denied Nick MacPherson before getting down low enough in the fourth minute of stoppage time to get a hand on Joe Hanson’s low effort.
After the interval Swifts carried on with their high tempo and were rewarded with the equaliser in the 53rd minute when Parsons-Smith’s pinpoint corner was nodded home at the back post by an unmarked Fulloway.
But within two minutes the visitors were back in front.
After conceding a soft free-kick on the far side, the long ball made its way to Sean Brain whose miscued shot landed at the feet of Gregory who could not miss from a couple of yards out.
And moments later Cowley could have grabbed his second and Sporting’s third had it not been for a goal-line clearance after the striker had lobbed Richards again.
Richards then denied Brain from drilling in at the near post but with little over 15 minutes remaining the Swifts keeper was picking the ball out of his net again.
Sam Wills’ corner from the right-hand side made its way through to Gregory who curled a beautiful effort into the far corner to all-but secure the victory for Smith’s men.
Swifts continued to press with Parsons-Smith seeing a long-range free-kick well saved by Francis before the Sporting keeper denied Myles Newman from pulling a goal back five minutes from time.
Report courtesy of Craig Gibbons (Bromsgrove Standard)