Shropshire Star

Bromsgrove 1 Telford 2 - Report

Cometh the hour, cometh the man…


A goal from the unlikeliest source secured a maximum return of six points from six over the Easter weekend for Kevin Wilkin’s team, as defender Jared Hodgkiss scored with four minutes of normal time remaining.

This was a very different performance from the 3-0 victory over Redditch United on Good Friday, where the Bucks strolled to victory once they’d opened the scoring.

They had to dig deep on a bobbly, sloping pitch at the Victoria Ground, being put under an aerial bombardment by a Bromsgrove side who upset champions-elect Needham Market at the same venue just over a week earlier.

The hosts, managed by former Wolves, Blackburn Rovers and England goalkeeper Tim Flowers, employed a direct approach, with strong, pacy runners and an awful lot of height in their team.

Flowers has brought former Buck Nate Blissett on board to be his team’s focal point, and Blissett opened the scoring against his old club after 34 minutes.

The Bucks had spent the first 20-25 minutes dealing with almost constant Bromsgrove pressure, albeit pressure that didn’t produce any real threat on goal.

Wilkin’s side was just starting to enjoy a good spell of possession when they fell victim to the simplest of goals.

A ball played down the middle for Blissett to chase saw Bucks skipper Fraser Kerr nod the ball back towards keeper Brandon Hall.

Kerr’s header fell short, the three players then came together on the edge of the box and Blissett showed the greatest awareness, swivelling to hook the ball past Hall and Kerr.

Hall saved his team a few minutes later when from more untidy pressure, full-back Mark Derricott sent a low shot towards goal from the edge of the box and Hall got his fingertips onto the ball to touch it on to the post.

It kept the Bucks in the contest, and after 45 minutes they levelled.

Good link-up play between the recalled Reece Styche and Ellis Brown sent Remi Walker into space on the left and he ran with the ball before striking it past Ollie Taylor as the keeper advanced.

The second half was a similar battle, with the added factor of Bromsgrove kicking down the slope towards Hall.

The Bucks had to find extra reserves of concentration, and Brown was a willing outlet for them, the slight winger not afraid to run and battle too.

They should have led after 67 minutes, when Taylor couldn’t hold Walker’s 25-yard free-kick and coughed up a rebound, but Montel Gibson inexplicably missed the target from just a few yards.

Kerr left the game a few minutes later, replaced by Sam Whittall, as the Bucks’ resources were tested further.

In the 86th minute, Hodgkiss, an unsung component of the team, stole forward into the penalty area and guided Ellis Myles’ cross from the right past Taylor.

It was his second match-winning goal of the season, having scored the only goal in the 1-0 win at Berkhamsted in November.

Seven minutes of added time weren’t negotiated smoothly, as the hosts threw all they had at the Bucks, trying to force a leveller, but Wilkin’s men held firm to keep hold of third place in the table.

One more victory will see their play-off place confirmed, with their first opportunity coming at home to Leamington on Saturday afternoon.