Stratford Town edged out by Bromsgrove Sporting

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Town defenders clear the ball after another Bromsgove attack in the second half. Photo: Mark Williamson

FOOTBALL

BetVictor Southern Premier Central
Stratford Town 1 (Wreh 18)
Bromsgrove Sporting 2 (M.Taylor 13, Broadhurst 67)
Report by Craig Gibbons

FORMER Stratford Town strikers Mike Taylor and Richard Gregory played their part in helping Bromsgrove Sporting to a 2-1 victory at the Arden Garages Stadium on Saturday.

Gregory provided the assist for Taylor to nod home the opening goal of the game in the 13th minute, but Town hit back five minutes later through the hard-working Chris Wreh.

The Rouslers then snatched all three points with 23 minutes to go when Leon Broadhurst headed in from Jak Hickman’s corner following a sustained spell of pressure.

Town caretaker boss Paul Davis made two changes to the team which crashed to a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Barwell on Tuesday night, with Jordan Clement and Kyle Ambris replacing the recently departed Ravi Shamsi and Kyle McFarlane, who returned to parent club York City following a short loan spell at the Arden Garages Stadium.

There was also a place on the bench for young midfielder Dan Atkins, who had been called up to the first team after consistently impressing for FC Stratford in Midland League Division Two.

As for visitors Sporting, their starting line-up featured ex-Town players Taylor and Gregory while another familiar face in Kieran Westwood was listed among the substitutes.

Taylor made 119 appearances and scored 44 goals and played an integral part in last season’s history-making Town squad.

Meanwhile, Gregory made 120 outings for the Blues and netted 78 times as well as winning the Southern League South West golden boot with a 43-goal haul during the 2013/14 campaign.

Sporting enjoyed plenty of the possession early on before they opened the scoring in the 13th minute, and it was inevitable that Gregory and Taylor would be involved.

Gregory made some space for himself on the right side of the box before delicately chipping to Taylor, who had the simple task of nodding in from ten yards out.

Sporting’s lead lasted just five minutes, though, as Town got back on level terms when Wreh latched on to a perfectly weighted pass from Lewis Wilson and beautifully curled the ball beyond the outstretched hands of Daniel Platt and into the far corner.

And the visitors had their hearts in their mouths minutes later when Thomas Taylor’s backpass header looped over Platt, who had to scamper back before being fouled by Wreh.

Despite that scary moment, the Rouslers came close to nosing themselves back in front after 25 minutes, but Foday Nabay did well to block Gregory’s volley on the line before the follow up from Gift Mussa was drilled just wide.

Town did well to stem the Sporting tide, but with Wreh operating as the lone striker, the hosts found it tough troubling the visitors at the other end of the pitch.

That said, Sporting, despite all the attacking flair at their disposal, struggled to break down a Town defence that stood firm to keep the scores level at the sound of the half-time whistle.

Bromsgrove brought a big away contingent of supporters to the Arden Garages Stadium.                                                                                                                                   Photo: Mark Williamson

Town had a glorious chance to take the lead six minutes after the restart when Wilson sent Wreh clean through, but the striker was denied his second goal of the game by the right foot of the onrushing Platt.

From then on in the game settled down somewhat, with neither side managing to take a stranglehold of proceedings.

However, after a period of Sporting pressure, the visitors retook the lead with 23 minutes left to play.

Hickman’s deep corner travelled all the way to the back post where Broadhurst was primed and ready to power home a header from a couple of yards out.

Ten minutes later Gregory had the chance to seal the three points for the visitors when he was put through one-on-one, but Sam Lomax did well to deny the former Town man from making it 3-1 before saving the rebound from Charlie Dowd.

Taylor then headed against the post from Hickman’s out-swinging free-kick, but had the ball nestled in the net, it would have been ruled out for offside anyway.

Town called on the services of Atkins and Matt Campbell-Mhlope in the dying embers of the match to try and force the equaliser and in the fourth minute of stoppage time the hosts had a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, but Wreh fizzed the effort just wide of the post.

TOWN: Sam Lomax, Dan Vann, Kai Wollard-Innocent, Courtney Richards, Matt Bower, Kyle Rowley, Lewis Wilson, Foday Nabay (Dan Atkins 87), Chris Wreh, Jordan Clement (Jarrell Hylton 75), Kyle Ambris (Matt Campbell-Mhlope 79). Unused sub: Jack Bennett.

SPORTING: Daniel Platt, Jak Hickman, Jack Wilson, Gift Mussa, Thomas Taylor, Leon Broadhurst, Greg Mills (Shaquille McDonald h/t), Joshua Quaynor, Mike Taylor (Kieran Westwood 75), Richard Gregory, William Shorrock (Charlie Dowd 75). Unused subs: Harry Higginson, Max Beardmore.