BROMSGROVE Sporting’s seven-game winning run in the Midland League Premier Division was brought to an end after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Heanor Town.
The Rouslers got off to a flying start on a very cold afternoon at the Victoria Ground, taking a sixth-minute lead when Luke Dugmore’s carefully placed volley crept into the far corner.
But the Lions were behind for just ten minutes when James Sleigh capitalised on a mistake from keeper Reece Francis to nip in and slot home from close range.
Sleigh thought he had put the Derbyshire visitors ahead by the half-hour mark but his ‘goal’ was chalked off for handball.
A well-drilled Heanor did take the lead after 63 minutes when Sam Vickers beat the offside trap and drilled a low shot in at the near post.
But a lacklustre Sporting were back on level terms just five minutes later when Sean Brain finished expertly into the far corner.
The draw kept Brendan Kelly’s men top of the table, just one point clear of Coleshill Town heading into Tuesday night’s showdown between the two title challengers.
However, the Sporting boss will be expecting more from his players after a below-par showing in front of 570 fans who braved the cold to see their team almost taste a league defeat at home since February 2016.
It looked as though Sporting were going to rack up a decent half-time lead when they broke the deadlock early doors.
Josh Quaynor’s cross, somewhat held up by the strong wind, landed at the feet of Dugmore who controlled well before volleying home into the far corner, just beyond the outstretched arm of Lions keeper Wayne White.
However, the goal seemed to spurn Heanor into gear and were worthy of their equaliser when Sleigh slotted home ten minutes later after Francis spilled Josh Craddock’s central delivery.
Just two minutes later an acrobatic volley from Cowley was deflected over while White needed two bites of the cherry to grasp Quaynor’s long-range drive after 29 minutes.
Moments later the visitors thought they had taken the lead when a cross from the right-hand side was diverted into the far corner by Sleigh.
After strong protests from Sporting and a word with his linesman, referee Andy Genders chalked the ‘goal’ off for handball.
A furious Heanor continued to press and it needed a fine block from Daniel Morris to deny the ever-present Sleigh from grabbing his second just before the break.
After the interval Sporting were again far from their best but were unlucky not to regain the lead in the 58th minute.
However, Cowley’s powerful effort, which could only be parried by White, was hacked off the line.
But just five minutes later Heanor took the lead when Vickers ghosted in behind the Sporting defence and prodded the ball beyond Francis to stun the Sporting faithful.
That lead lasted just five minutes, though, as Brain latched on to a lofted throughball, outpaced Shaun Roulston before lashing home into the opposite corner from a tight angle.
At this point you’d have thought Sporting would push on and find a winner, but they stuttered in front of goal and lacked creativity which had been in abundance in the last two games.
Heanor battled on but were content with the point but on another day they could have walked away with all three.
Report courtesy of Craig Gibbons (Bromsgrove Standard).