It was Sporting's first game at the newly refurbished Victory Ground and a feel good factor could be felt throughout the ground as a return to league fixtures after a weeks break was eagerly anticipated.
As the players took to the pitch a buzz could be felt all around, M. Fear blew the whistle and the game began.
Sporting and Kesgrave traded blows in the early stages of the game with both sides trying their best to get a foothold in the game. Today saw the début of youth keeper James Price in the place of the missing Dan Page and some good clean keeping saw him make a comfortable start to life in adult football. Sporting outfield though were finding it hard to keep up the form that had flowed so freely before the week's break however after some stellar defending from Taylor and Honeyball, Sporting broke and were unlucky not to score when a through ball from Rodwell only just failed to find Bailey. Kesgrave threatened again and the stand in pair of Manning and Benwell at full back proved too good for Kesgrave's assault. Krogh on his first start for Sporting was proving a problem for Kesgrave's full backs as he dinked and darted through several defenders to get a ball in that only just fell short of making a real chance.
On 29 minutes though the pressure and efforts of Sporting were rewarded when Bailey burst past the Kesgrave defence to slot home past a helpless goalkeeper.
Sporting were on top now and Ginn marshalled the midfield with authority and strength, 5 minutes later Sporting would again find themselves scoring as a long ball to Collinson and some fantastic work down the right led to a controlled cross that Bailey brought under his spell and slid into the bottom corner of the net, Sporting now 2 goals to the good.
Barton who had been relatively quiet in this game found himself in dreamland as he would make it a goal in every game he has played in with a powerful header from a Ginn cannon throw. Sporting were 3 nil up and cruising as the passing flowed and the players movement was almost telepathic. As the whistle blew you would forgive Sporting for thinking another 3 points were on their way.
Half-Time Sporting 3-0 Kesgrave.
The phrases “a game of two halves” has been true on so many occasions in football and today sporting would taste it's bitter truth.
Kesgrave came flying out of the blocks and hit Sporting hard, a number of challenges went unpunished which set the tone for the second half.
On 55 minutes a dangerous ball came in from Kesgrave and failed defensive header let the ball drop to a Kesgrave player before Manning was deemed to of fouled him and a penalty was awarded. The Kesgrave player dispatched the penalty with ease and the comeback was on.
It would be Kesgrave again who would strike as another long ball found it's way to keeper Price however the apparent foul from Kesgrave's striker went unpunished and the ball was bundled into the back of the net leaving Crawford on the sidelines red faced.
The comeback would be completed with 20 minutes to go as Kesgrave piled on the pressure on a hapless Sporting and scored to make it 3-3. Sporting responded in the final stages of the game with a barrage of attacks however Kesgrave held on until the final whistle leaving Sporting looking dejected and downtrodden on their début at the Victory Ground.
This game leaves Sporting still unbeaten in the league however they will have to put in a better performance next week if they wish to progress in the cup.
Unconfirmed reports that A. Table will be taking legal action against M. Crawford after receiving several blows to his body are in circulation, more on that story as details become available.