The biggest crowd at the BP Mitchell Stadium in five years saw just why Bromsgrove Sporting are title and promotion contenders in the Southern League Div 1 Central division.
The Midlanders made light of some very difficult conditions in gale force winds and an increasingly heavy Herns Lane pitch, in front of a 328 crowd, to brush aside WGC’s spirited bid to block the Worcestershire side’s impressive progress back up the non-league ladder.
Bromsgrove did an efficient job on Dean Barker’s young side, giving a clinical lesson in finishing and the WGC manager knows his side will have easier days to come in their final eight games of this, at times, turbulent campaign.
Barker included young loanee Eoin McKeown, signed in midweek from Division 2 Colchester United and he was paired upfront with Elliot Bailey, while the power of Dylan Ebengo was drafted into midfield, on his return.
Another newcomer Jack Humphrey impressed with some fine work to play Bailey through in the opening minutes, but Bromsgrove central defender Tom Taylor got in a telling tackle in the box.
Humphrey was in action at the other end soon afterwards, cutting out a dangerous cross after Bromsgrove’s tricky winger Charlie Dowd had got around Jon Sexton.
New boy McKeown was given the chance to show his pace on the quarter-hour, from Dan Carr’s ball over the visitors defence, but just couldn’t keep the ball in play.
Then on 20 minutes, Bromsgrove struck with a fine finish from the top scoring Richard Godfrey who hit a smart side volley high and wide of WGC keeper Lewis Todd’s dive into the top corner from 15 yards.
The Citizens responded well. Good approach work by Matty Campbell-Mhlope and Charlie Pattison set up a headed chance for McKeown, but his header was straight at visiting keeper Jono Brown.
WGC’s most memorable first-half effort was a ferocious Ebengo effort just wide, struck as a rebound came out to the big defender.
But moments later Bromsgrove were 2-0 up. Carr slipped on the slick surface, going for an interception and let in winger Kieran Westwood. He struck an effort that Todd saved well with his legs, but the rebound fell obligingly for Westwood, who put away his second attempt.
It was clearly a blow to WGC just before half-time, but they began the second-half with their best period of the game.
Two minutes after the restart, a good ball from Carr and clever flick from Campbell-Mhlope put McKeown in the clear, but he skied his effort horribly over and WGC’s best chance of a goal back was gone.
Minutes later, McKeown did better as provider, setting up the chance for Campbell-Mhlope, but he hit keeper Brown with his shot, the Bromsgrove keeper completing a sharp save.
Almost as though to show WGC how it was done, Bromsgrove stretched away to net a slightly flattering third goal - somewhat against the run of play – when substitute Jake Heath made it 3-0 with his first touch,
sweeping a low shot through a crowded area past Todd, after the home defence had only half cleared a free-kick.
Manager Barker introduced Ivan Agyaakwah and Romelle Alomenu in a double change, Ebengo and Pattison making way.
WGC felt they had claims for a penalty when McKeown was brought down on the edge of the area. Certainly, full-back Jon Sexton felt so and was booked for dissent by referee Harrison.
It proved a costly exchange of views as seven minutes later, Sexton blocked off Dowd in a challenge and Mr Harrison adjudged a second yellow was necessary, sending the WGC defender off and leaving the Citizens to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men.
During that time, keeper Todd pulled off two fine saves to keep out a swerving effort from Bromsgrove midfielder Josh Quaynor and then an even better save from a deflected effort from the Midlanders’ lively substitute John Prykett.
At the other end, Bailey was put through on the Bromsgrove goal, but couldn’t get any power into his final effort and Brown saved easily, snuffing out any chance of a WGC reward on the afternoon.
WGC: Todd, Carr, Rolfe, Humphrey, Sexton, Campbell-Mhlope (Orcan 71), Pattison (Agyaakwah 68), Ebengo (Alomenu 68), Keenleyside, McKeown, Bailey.