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Sporting  Life
Sporting Life

The Sporting Life

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 16/10/2021

SPORTING Lisbon, Peterborough Sports, Sporting Khalsa, Ross Sports Club, Bromsgrove Sporting … it’s all in the name.

The Bromsgrove sporting bunch lie in mid-table, two places below mighty Biggleswade Town in the Southern League Premier Division, but today league positions don’t matter as both teams scrap to win a place in the First Round Proper, as if there is something improper about today's game. The ground was full. A capacity crowd of 3,500, last achieved in 2017 when Bromsgrove played Cleethorpes Town in the FA Vase, was expected. Now from our perspective let's be greedy. We've had a stellar start to the season but a good cup run would be very handy and exciting. Our team today was: Crocombe - Sears, Pearson, Long-King, Revan - Sousa, Fox, Coke, Clifton - Bapaga - John-Lewis. Much changed but still a strong line-up.

Within 2 minutes, a great lay-off from John-Lewis sent Bapaga up the left. John-Lewis skewed Bapaga's cross wide. Town showed good energy in the early stages, especially Bapaga who took advantage of a break on 6 minutes but could have done better with his attempt on goal. Bromsgrove were blocking resolutely. On 12 minutes Pearson started a move with a great pass up the middle. Bapaga shook himself clear but couldn't get power on his shot. It was an open game. Town won a throw on left after 16 minutes. Bapaga - who else - cut the ball back and found Revan who controlled the pass and blasted his shot into the net. Bromsgrove 0, Town 1. Town controlled play and continued to press forward as a team. On 23 minutes Sousa was hacked down by Bloomer who was booked. Revan's long floated cross evaded the defence but not Longe-King who fired a header on goal. It looked as if the Bromsgrove keeper had made a great save but the referee decided the ball was over the line. Bromsgrove 0, Town 2. Town didn't let up, and on 27 minutes Revan created space outside the box and slammed his low shot into the corner. Bromsgrove 0, Town 3. Bromsgrove had a shot that went wide on 33 minutes but of the two sides Town presented the most danger every time they went forward. Town's forward movement was impressive but equally impressive was the midfield, with Fox and Coke winning balls and setting up moves. Bapaga had a good shot from range on 39 minutes which was well saved. John-Lewis was then sent clear following a strong midfield better but couldn't get his foot round the shot with just the goalkeeper to beat. John-Lewis made good contributions with his strength and lay-offs, and Clifton was unlucky on 44 minutes following one of them when the ball bobbled as he took aim inside the box. Bromsgrove passed well on the stroke of half time, and Crocombe was forced to hand away a shot, but it was Grimsby who dominated the first half.

Khouri replaced Clifton for the second half. Bromsgrove were under pressure immediately when the goalkeeper had a rush of blood, but John-Lewis was unable to take advantage. From the corner John-Lewis was beaten by the defender. John-Lewis continued to cause problems, first winning a corner and then almost latching onto a pass from the right. On 52 minutes Sousa was clear in the box but the ball bobbled and the shot ended up in the car park. Bromsgrove had a rare chance and shot after winning a tough tackle in midfield but Town broke and created several chances without being able to score, with attempts from Bapaga and Sousa. John-Lewis continued to create threats and hold the ball up but was unable to connect himself. On 58 minutes Wright replaced Sousa. The second half performance was not as fluid as the first but Town were still on top and looked the more likely to score. On 63 minutes John-Lewis blasted over the bar after a brilliant turn to shake off two defenders - if only he could score. Seven minutes later a great cross from Khouri on the left led to a blocked volley from Wright. Bapaga was then sent clear after more good work in midfield before Wright hit the side netting. On 73 minutes Essen replaced Fox. Not only were Town working hard in midfield and showing intent each time they attacked, but the central defensive combination of Pearson and Longe-King weren't allowing any opportunities for Bromsgrove. On 81 minutes Wright and Essen closed in on the goalkeeper who reached out and tripped Essen - penalty to Town. John-Lewis stepped and blasted his spot kick into the roof of the net. Bromsgrove 0, Town 4. With Town not letting up, five minutes later Wright was tripped while slicing through the Bromsgrove half. From the free-kick Bapaga advanced up the left and was tripped - another Town penalty. This time John-Lewis's effort was poor and at a good height for the goalkeeper to make a comfortable save. Town had a corner. The wriggling Wright supplied John-Lewis whose shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. From the resultant corner, Pearson's header was just wide. Time was added following an injury to a Bromsgrove player. As the 95th minute approached, Bromsgrove switched off. John-Lewis sent Bapaga clear. Bapaga beat the defender on the left side and boomed a left-footed shot into the right-hand corner. The final whistle blew: Bromsgrove 0, Town 5.

The game went according to the formbook, but great credit is due to Mr Hurst and the players for the preparation and professional approach to this game. This was a hard-working performance with good movement and team play. The opposition were from a lower league, but we showed them respect, closed them down throughout the game as we maintained our standard. The victory was comfortable and thoroughly deserved. All we want now is a nice draw - Scunthorpe at home perhaps?

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