Clarke’s double keeps title hopes alive

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Goal: Mark Bellingham bags Sporting's second. Picture: CRAIG ROSS Goal: Mark Bellingham bags Sporting's second. Picture: CRAIG ROSS

Bromsgrove Sporting 3, Brocton 2

A BRILLIANT brace from Lewis Clarke inspired Bromsgrove Sporting to a fine victory over the Midland Combination Premier leaders, writes Conor Rees.

Two goals in as many minutes ensured the Rouslers came from behind to record their most impressive win of the season.

Victory kept Bromsgrove’s slim title hopes alive, although the fifth-placed side trail Brocton by nine points and have played two more games.

Sporting were trailing to Paul McMahon’s 19th-minute header until Clarke made his presence felt two minutes later. A great free-kick from Joe Cole found the hitman, who lofted a header over the keeper to level the scores.

McMahon fired the away side ahead again in the 32nd minute after good work by Sam Bell.

But prolific poacher Mark Bellingham bagged his obligatory goal in the 34th minute, scrambling the ball over the line after Clarke had hit the post.

Clarke then pounced on a misjudged punch by keeper Adam Whitehouse and fired the ball into the bottom corner.

Brocton had the chance the level the score before the break but shot-stopper Jake Bedford spread his body well to deny Andrew Bourne.

The visitors, though, did threaten more in the final stages, with substitute Ashley Phillips coming closest with a good effort just after the 90 minutes were up.

Sporting fans had do ensure a very nervous four minutes of added time but there was relief and jubilation as the referee blew for full time.

Sporting: Bedford, Duggan, Mander, Clarke, Morris, Cole, Ashman, Darkin, Bellingham, Poyner, Wilson.

Subs not used: Daley, Jones, Jones, Harvey, Wilkinson.

Brocton: Whitehouse, Allen, Abelwhite, Tomlinson, Bailey, Bourne (Beech, 73), Bell (Phillips, 89), Jones, McMahon, Putka (Jarrett, 46), Lomas.

Attendance: 225.

l Fairfield Villa finally saw off Droitwich Spa 4-2 penalties in the President's Cup after the derby rivals battled out a 6-6 draw.

Despite Andrew Cook’s sending off, Villa had streaked 6-3 ahead thanks to goals for Jake Fowler (2), Pete Jenvey, Chris Pratt, Ryan Molesworth and Ben Pearsall. Spirited Spa saw Danny Bell (2) and Phil Rowe score in the first half and they ensured penalties with second-period strikes by James Ward, Spencer Yates and Andy Crowther.

Villa go to West Midlands Police on Saturday (3pm), while Spa are at Feckenham (2pm).

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