Bromsgrove Sporting 0, Nuneaton Griff 4

SPORTING’S title hopes suffered another damaging blow in the Midland Combination Premier as they were well-beaten by fourth-placed Nuneaton Griff on Saturday, writes Connor Rees.

The Rouslers never recovered from a poor first half display as Griff, inspired by hat-trick hero Josh Ruff, powered into a 3-0 lead.

They started in the worst way possible when they conceded a free-kick just outside the far corner of the box and Ruff curled a low effort around the wall into the bottom corner of the goal to hand the away side an early lead.

Sporting could have quickly responded thanks to a low hit Jon Rogers cross, though a stretching Chris Morrison was unable to make contact with the ball.

Nuneaton Griff then managed to extend their lead 26 minutes when the Bromsgrove defence allowed opposition striker Ruff to half volley into the top left hand corner.

The skilful striker got his hat-trick and Nuneaton’s third within the half an hour mark, striking the ball cleanly outside the box which powered along the ground into the bottom right corner of the goal.

Nuneaton continued to pile on the pressure with other chances coming from Steve Barrett, Ruff and Kyle Baxter but Bromsgrove managed to fend off Nuneaton’s remaining chances but ended the first half 3-0 down.

Both sides had early chances in the opening stages after the break. Sporting substitute Chrisi Conway tried to close the deficit with a few efforts for the Rouslers, his best coming inches wide of the Nuneaton post.

Nuneaton’s Mark Williams then had an excellent chance to extend the away side’s lead.

His burst of pace allowed him to sprint down the near side of the pitch into the Bromsgrove box but shot wide from an acute angle instead of finding Ruff.

Sporting only really created one more effort in the remainder of the second half when Joe Brookes saw an acrobatic overhead kick miss the target.

Jamie Greenway settled all three points in the 73rd minute for the away side, his trickery fooling the home defence before slotting the ball between the legs of keeper Tom Savage.

Sporting’s promotion hopes are now in tatters with only one point from the last three games. They will need to get back to winning ways next Saturday when they play away against 14th place Pelsall Villa.

Sporting line-up: Savage, Humphries, Parker (Roberts 46 mins), Ross,Brookes, Harris, Rogers, Lodge (Conway 46 mins), Morrison, Nicol (Draper, 63), Nash.

Substitutes not used: Marler, Turk.

Griff: Watson, Sullivan (Faulconbridge, 76), Lillicrap, Hildreth, Millerchip, Greenway, MG Williams, Baxter, M Williams (Moore, 70), Ruff (Hammersley, 76), Barrett.

Substitutes not used: Mitchell Thompson, Jordan Scobbie.

Referee: Attendance: 193