BROMSGROVE Sporting suffered their first league defeat in 40 games when they lost to Coventry Sphinx last Saturday.

But the Rouslers return to winning ways on Bank Holiday Monday when beating Highgate United 2-1 in front of another bumper Victoria Ground crowd.

Sporting's prospects weren't helped at Sphinx when goalkeeper Reece Francis was sent off just before half time and full back Aaron Roberts had to take over between the posts.

Subdued Sporting were already a goal down at the time and boss Paul Smith refused to use the loss of his goalkeeper as an excuse for the defeat and said: "We didn't have the desire or get up and go to win the game.

"It's not like last season and players can't think we can just turn up and win the game.

"Sphinx's work-rate and will to win was better than ours. We got what we deserved and I've no complaints about the result.

"What I won't tolerate is a lack of effort and application. I glad to say it was more evident against Highgate, who are a side that are constantly in your face, but this time, they played a more cagey game, putting 11 men behind the ball at times.

"I made several changes from Saturday and it seemed to work.

"The irony was that despite going down to 10 men for the second half against Sphinx, we should still have got something out of the game.

"We got a penalty in the dying moments but Joe Ward's effort was probably one of the worst you'll ever see.

"He claimed he caught his foot on a bobble, but his shot must have bounced three or four times and would have struggled to reach the line.

"He's taken some real stick from the players for that, but the penalty aside, Joe is beginning to look the part and will be a really big player for us.

"His fitness is getting better and he took the game to Highgate on Monday."

Sporting host Rocester on Saturday and must then make a trip to Hereford on Wednesday where they face Westfields.