FOUR first half goals proved to be the difference as Bromsgrove Sporting ran out comfortable winners at Atherstone Town to extend their unbeaten league season to 36 games.
The Midland League Division One champions wasted little time in asserting their dominance on the game when they took a 17th-minute lead when skipper Craig Jones rose highest to nod Chris Lloyd’s corner into the net.
Lloyd again turned provider ten minutes later when his free-kick was diverted into the far corner by Jason Cowley before the latter grabbed his second of the game from the penalty spot on the half hour mark.
But the Rouslers were not done there as seven minutes before the break Paul Smith’s men made it 4-0 as Lloyd raced through on goal before applying a clever finish to beat the advancing Tom McNulty.
It could have been a bigger margin for Sporting as Aaron Roberts, Ahmed Ali and Cowley saw efforts hacked off the line before a drab second half followed with no further goals added to the tally.
The victory ensured Sporting made it 18 straight league wins since the turn of the New Year and they almost took the lead inside a minute as Lloyd volleyed over despite having an open goal to aim at after a poor error by McNulty.
Two minutes later Cowley saw a clever near-post flick saved by the Adders’ keeper before Ali headed over unmarked from the resulting corner.
But Sporting’s pressure eventually paid dividends just after the quarter hour mark as Lloyd’s beautifully weighted delivery was powerfully headed home by skipper Jones.
The hosts never really had much of a look-in in the early stages but when Roberts was deemed to have hand-balled just outside his own area after 24 minutes, Sam Belcher could only blast over his free-kick before seeing a lobbed effort moments later go to waste.
Those misses proved to be costly when in the 27th minute Lloyd once more provided a great delivery to the back stick where Cowley glanced the ball into the far corner to grab his 38th goal of the season.
And three minutes later the Rouslers had the opportunity to further increase their lead when Reece Hewitt was clumsily hacked down in the area, giving referee Scott Chalkley the easiest of decisions to award a penalty.
Cowley took the spot-kick, firing it low and hard into the bottom right-hand corner.
After 36 minutes another Lloyd corner caused mayhem for the Adders as Roberts, Ali and Cowley all saw efforts to add a fourth hacked off the line.
But the fourth goal did come two minutes later as Lloyd raced through on goal before drawing McNulty off his line and firing into the far corner.
Atherstone’s Ben Ashby came close to reducing the hosts’ arrears just before the interval but he could only volley wide after some good work by left-back Aaron O’Neil.
After the break things started to get a little bit more scrappy as Aden Moore saw an effort fly wide after 47 minutes before Jones sent a header over the bar from Lloyd’s corner immediately up the other end.
Hewitt though should have added Sporting’s fifth just before the mark but he could only slice his effort from the edge of the area wide of the mark.
Neil Leech in the Rouslers goal had not been tested in the first half and that stayed the same in the second as O’Neil missed the target from distance after 67 minutes.
Eight minutes later Sporting missed another chance to add to their lead as substitute Tom Craine went on a daring run before heading across goal to fellow substitute John Pykett who nodded over the bar when it seemed easier to score than miss.
Adders’ top scorer Alex Naughton had been closely marshalled all game and never really caused much of a threat but Leech had to be at his best to prevent the striker’s low shot from drifting inside the near post with five minutes remaining.
Bunn and Ali then saw shots from 20 yards out fly just wide in the dying stages as Sporting closed out the victory.