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MATCH NEWS: Unbeaten League run comes to an end at Coventry Sphinx

LACKLUSTRE Bromsgrove Sporting saw their incredible run of 22 consecutive league wins since the turn of 2017 come to end at Coventry Sphinx.

Goals from Chris Sterling and Ryan Harkin downed the Rouslers whose misery was compounded when goalkeeper Reece Francis was sent off and James Ward missed a penalty with the score at 1-0.

You’d have to go back to April last year when Sporting last lost a league game, that coming in a 2-0 defeat at Cadbury Athletic in the final fixture of the 2015/16 season. And there was a sense that Sporting’s brilliant unbeaten league run, which lasted 40 games, was going to end as a poor first-half display proved costly.

The warning signs were on the wall early doors when Sterling had a shot hacked off the line by Jordan Jones inside five minutes before the striker then volleyed wide from inside the area after connecting with Alex Tomkinson’s cross. It took until the 30th minute for a lethargic Sporting to get their first meaningful chance as Robbie Bunn saw a shot deflect its way through to Sphinx keeper Scott Dutton from the edge of the area.

Within a matter of moments, Liam Spink then volleyed over the bar from distance and those missed chances came back to hurt the Rouslers. Six minutes before the break Rhys Deeman’s cross was picked up by Sterling who neatly turned his marker inside the box before firing into the far corner to give the hosts a deserved lead.

And Sporting’s afternoon was made worse in the second minute of first-half stoppage time when goalkeeper Francis brought down Harkin on the edge of the area and received a straight red card for his troubles.

Defender Aaron Roberts was forced to put the gloves on as ten-man Sporting battled hard in the second half to force their way back into the game. Richard Gregory and Spink had chances just before the hour mark but both failed to force Dutton into a save for a Sphinx side which were being forced deeper and deeper into their own area.

Gregory then saw a dipping free-kick saved by the Sphinx stopper after 68 minutes before Harkin crashed a powerful effort off the underside of the bar immediately up the other end. Duane Courtney was next to send a shot wide of the mark for Sporting whose pressure eventually paid off in the 85th minute when Spink’s cross was handballed in the area.

Ward took the spot-kick but he miscued it horribly, with the ball dribbling well wide of the mark. With one big chance missed at one end, Sphinx made the most of theirs up the other in the dying moments when Harkin beat the offside trap before rounding the onrushing Roberts and slotting into an empty net.

There was still time for Max Loveridge to hit the post just seconds later for Sporting who were simply not good enough on the day to walk away with a positive result.

Report courtesy of Craig Gibbons (Bromsgrove Standard)

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