12:00pm Thursday 24th April 2003
Saturday, March 8, 2003
A ONE minute silence was impeccably observed by both sets of fans in memory of Ashley Read as Bromsgrove Rovers returned to league action at Bedworth United.
Rovers, who had not played since the tragic death of the 19-year-old, were denied a share of the points in injury time when the hosts stole the game 2-1 in controversial cirumstances.
With the scores level, Lee Ross, who looked offside, stuck the ball home four minutes into injury time, sparking furious scenes as Rovers players confronted referee M Short.
Gary Hackett and Jon Ford's side should have opened the scoring on a heavy muddy pitch after three minutes. Neil Cartwright burst through a static Bedworth defence but took too much time with only goalkeeper Richard Williams to beat and allowed the defenders to get back.
The game developed into an intricate midfield battle as both teams tried to stamp their authority on the game.
Steve Frost threaded a through ball into the path of Marvin Blake, but Williams just got enough on the ball to send Blake's deft chip over the crossbar on 37 minutes.
Three minutes later, another dangerous cross caused havoc in the Greenback's defence, but this time Leigh Everitt cleared with a last gasp tackle as Blake set his sights.
Bedworth had their first sight of Matt Lowe's goal three minutes from the break when Craig Middleton shot just wide of the right hand post. A minute later, Ben Steane clipped the ball over the advancing Lowe only to see the ball hit the crossbar and bounce clear.
The Greenbacks broke the deadlock on 63 minutes. Jamie Hood floated a free-kick toward the edge of the Rovers box, Steane produced a deft touch to find Andy Morson and he beat Pope's despairing tackle to slot past Lowe.
Bedworth should have wrapped up the points on 73 minutes but Andy Morson and Lee Ross got in the way of each other.
Rovers turned up the pressure and it finally paid off six minutes from time when substitute Kevin Banner fired between a sea of legs to find the bottom corner past an unsighted goalkeeper.
Rovers almost snatched another two minutes later when substitute Paul Danks' shot was deflected wide of the left hand post with Williams beaten.
Then, four minutes into injury time, Steane passed to Darren Beckett and he found Ross to slot home despite appearing offside.
Lowe 6, Benbow 7, Beckett 6 (sub Banner 61 mins 7), Clifton 7, Lutz 7, Pope 7 (sub Collins 63 mins 7), DYSON 7*, Cartwright 6 (sub Danks 70 mins 7), Burgess 6, Blake 7, Frost 7. Subs not used: Ford, Hateley.
Attendance - 241.
Report by STEVE RIDDICK.
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