It was a wet and gloomy day at Kesgrave, Storm clouds had gathered and the rain barely let up in time for kick off. The game was to be overseen by Referee Paul Moore and he blew his whistle to set off this stormy tie.
Sporting were a weakened side for this fixture as injuries to several key players left Sporting with a bare eleven and forced to play Barton and Bailey both of whom were injured mid week and not 100% for the game.
It was an evenly contested contest in the first few minutes as Sporting prodded and probed the oppositions back line and were nearly rewarded when some fine inter play from Bailey and Manning worked an opportunity for Bailey to get in on goal, only for Kesgrave's defence to recover quickly to snuff out the threat. Kesgrave who had battled back from three nil down in their last encounter with Sporting were looking to go one better this week and piled on the pressure using their powerful front man as their outlet, Sporting's defensive pairing of Honeyball and Taylor battled intensely to keep the opposition out. It was end to end action as Sporting failed to deliver a final ball of any real quality and Barton's injury appeared to have the better of him in these early exchanges. Barton however managed to pull off some neat footwork to wriggle free and get off a shot that was gathered up by Kesgrave's keeper. For all of Sporting's endeavour it would be Kesgrave who struck first as Lovejoy moved to close down a Kesgrave attack down the right hand side the ball found it's way to a now unmarked Kesgrave player who put a dangerous ball into the box. A mix up of communication between Warnock and stand in goalkeeper Ash Brown ended with the ball in the back of the net and Kesgrave 1-0 up.
The game dissolved into a stop start affair as Referee Moore looked to enforce his authority on the game as the tackles flew in thick and fast.
The first half finished with Sporting trailing at the break and needing a spark to ignite their depleted team.
The second half started in a much brighter fashion for Sporting than how the first half ended and Ginn was at the heart of it all as his endeavour inspired the rest of the team. Sporting managed get in behind Kesgrave's defence only for Bailey's shot to be gathered up by the onrushing keeper. Sporting were a team revived and piled on the pressure however they still lacked that final ball, Kesgrave were going to spoil the party as Sporting gave away a dangerous free kick on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick was dispatched past deputising goalkeeper Ash Brown and left Sporting shaking their heads.
Not to be deterred Sporting continued to press and were finally rewarded when Bailey was able to get his name on the score sheet and pull Sporting back into the game.
The game became an argy bargy back and forth and Referee Moore was left with no choice when a previously booked Kesgrave forward was given a red card. Sporting pressed harder, desperate to grab another goal but Kesgrave were quick to counter a Sporting attack and burst forward down the left. Kesgrave's winger whipped in a dangerous ball to the far post and a hugely unlucky Honeyball could do nothing but put in the back of his own net.
Depleted and with an injury list ever increasing with Herrera now forced to play the game with a damaged back Sporting showed fight and determination in the final stages and were rewarded when Rodwell managed to squeeze a ball over the Kesgrave defence and find a darting Manning who finished with finesse as he lifted the ball up and over the onrushing Kesgrave keeper to nestle the ball into the back of the net. For all of Sporting's pressure in the final few minutes of the game there was no reward as Referee Moore blew his whistle to confirm Sporting's first loss of the season and put a dent in their top half challenge.
Another day another result, Sporting's lack of playing staff told in this game and on any other day a different result may of occurred however this was a loss and Sporting would now look to their next game to rectify this weeks misery.