A CLINICAL Richard Gregory struck another brace to fire Midland League Premier Division leaders Bromsgrove Sporting to a 3-0 victory away at relegation-threatened Shawbury United.
The former Stafford Rangers sharpshooter scored in his tenth consecutive game for the Rouslers, finding the back of the net either side of half-time with second-half substitute Liam Holt completing the scoring late on as Paul Smith’s men eased to the three points at the SBS Stadium in Ludlow.
Victory for Sporting keeps them one point clear of second-placed Coleshill Town, who have played one game more, after they ran out 3-1 winners over Lye Town.
Smith made three changes to the team which came from behind to beat Rugby Town 2-1 last Saturday with Max Loveridge, Ahmed Ali and Sean Brain coming in for Daniel Morris, Drew Canavan and Holt.
And Loveridge almost made an impact just seven minutes into the game after meeting Ali’s cross on the edge of the area but the midfielder’s curling effort cannoned off the crossbar.
This seemed to give Shawbury some impetus as Benjamin Robinson tricked his way past skipper Craig Jones before seeing his drilled shot blocked at the near post three minutes later.
Joseph Delacoe then sent an effort wide of the mark from the edge of the area before Sporting keeper Reece Francis showed superb reactions to get save at his near post as Liam Armstrong’s effort looked destined for the top corner.
Those missed chances came back to haunt the hosts as they fell behind just three minutes before the interval.
Brain’s cross from the left-hand side was diverted goalwards by Jason Cowley whose flicked header was only parried by Shawbury keeper Ian Havard into the path of Gregory who made no mistake from just two yards out.
However, just a minute after the break Shawbury should have been level when Armstrong’s trickery led to him leaving only Francis to beat but the lively No.8 could only strike the outside of the post.
And seconds later Delacoe tried his luck from the edge of the area but his effort flew just wide as the Shropshire side started at an incredible tempo.
But just like the first half, Shawbury’s wasted chances hit them hard when Sporting doubled their lead in the 54th minute.
Again Brain was the architect with his deep cross finding Gregory at the back post who jinked inside, then outside and then back inside before firing into the opposite corner to notch his 17th goal in 13 games.
From then on there looked like there would be only one winner and the points were sealed 15 minutes from time as Holt fired in Sporting’s third.
Home keeper Havard will have thought he could have done better with the shot, though, as he palmed Holt’s long-range drive into the net.
Cowley came close to adding a fourth in the first minute of stoppage time but he placed an effort just wide of the far post after latching on to Canavan’s acute throughball.
Report courtesy of Craig Gibbons (Bromsgrove Standard)