Thatcham Town 2 Bromsgrove Sporting 1
By Luke Edwards
Ekow brace fires Kingfishers into the last eight!
Two goals from Ekow Elliott fired Thatcham Town into the Buildbase FA Vase quarter-finals. The kick-off was delayed 15 minutes due to the crowd congestion at Waterside Park, but Elliott soon quietened the large visiting contingent with his brace. Although Richard Gregory reduced the arrears from a penalty before half-time, Sporting were unable to get themselves back into the tie and the Kingfishers ran out deserved winners.
Elliott's first came on 18 minutes when he created some space in the penalty area and fired a low left-footed strike past Reece Francis into the bottom corner. Nine minutes later he added a second when Harry Grant cut in from the left wing, and Elliott used the pace of his cross to guide the ball home with this right foot. Almost immediately from the restart the Kingfishers almost had the tie wrapped up when Harry Grant thumped a shot from 25 yards against the underside of the crossbar.
But Bromsgrove soon came back into the tie. The pace of their front two had been a threat from the outset, and on 35 minutes they both played their part in reducing the arrears. Jason Cowley weaved his way through the penalty area and was brought down by Town's keeper Chris Rackley, and Gregory converted from the spot.
In the second-half the same pattern of play continued, with the game quite tight and chances at a premium. Shane Cooper-Clark headed over for Thatcham, while Sporting came close on the hour when Aaron Roberts surged forward and Max Loveridge's cross across the face of goal just needed a touch.
However as the game went on, the visitors left gaps at the back and Thatcham missed several chances to make the margin of victory more convincing. The bustling Cooper-Clark caused most of the problems, with the wing play of Elliott and Jemel Johnson also stretching the visitors. Elliott almost glanced home his third from Jemel Johnson's cross, while Babs Jarra and Cooper-Clark forced saves from Francis, who also got a vital hand to the ball as Johnson attempted to round him.
Bromsgrove came close to levelling when Gregory flicked a header narrowly wide from a Roberts delivery, but with Thatcham unable to score a third, the Kingfishers closed the game down and settled for a 2-1 win in front of 701 spectators.
Team : Rackley; Brownhill (Miller), Browne, Moran, Jarra; Melledew, Bayley, Grant (Angell), Elliott; Cook (Johnson), Cooper-Clark. Unused Subs : Thomas, Brown