This was not my first visit to Townsend Meadows having been there on the opening week of the 2014/15 season (http://www.botp.co.uk/blog/a-night-at-the-races-almost) to witness a 2-2 draw with Nuneaton Griff. However, Tuesday seemed like a very good day to re-visit the ground. The Racers are currently sixth, higher than they have been for a number of seasons, and their opponents this midweek were Bromsgrove Sporting, league leaders, title favourites and, of course, FA Vase semi-finalists. The Rouslers would no doubt be looking for a winning return to league action after, somewhat unluckily, going out of the Vase last Saturday and seeing Leicester Road cut their advantage to three points.
The reverse fixture, on the last day of 2016, had finished 1-1 with Warwick recovering from going a goal down to an early penalty, equalising and then defending valiantly for their point.
Not much seems to have changed at Townsend Meadows, or should I say the Church Farm Brewery Stadium, since my last visit. There is now a turnstile directly accessed from the adjacent car park which I am fairly sure wasn't there before but, apart from that, the ground appears unaltered.
One really nice touch, and one that I believe may be unique to The Racers, is the handing out of a menu when you enter the ground. I have certainly never seen this before, but it did bring a smile to my face. Of course, it may also help to bring revenue into the club by enticing people to try a burger alongside their match-day Bovril. Does anyone know of any other club that does this?
There was plenty of Rouslers support evident as the teams made their way onto the pitch, Racing Club in their amber and black colours. Sporting in their change kit of green.
It was Warwick, living up to their name, who flew out of the blocks. For the first ten minutes, in fact, it was Racing who were much the better side with Bromsgrove finding it hard to get into their stride.
Indeed, with around five minutes played, Warwick should really have taken the lead. A break down their left flank and a driven cross, which bypassed the Rouslers keeper Jonathan Brown, was met by an onrushing forward. Unfortunately for The Racers the attempt was hit directly at a covering defender and cannoned away to safety. Bromsgrove didn't learn from this warning though and a series of over hit or wayward back-passes kept putting Brown in awkward situations, a couple of which forced corners for the home side.
However, Sporting weathered this initial Racing Club storm and, gradually, they started to gain a foothold on the game. It was very much like watching a screw being turned. Bit by bit, inch by inch, Bromsgrove enforced their authority on the game, pushing Warwick further back into their own half. It was actually very impressive to watch. The whole team noticeably stepped it up a notch and imposed themselves all over the pitch.
Then, on 24 minutes, Nicol got on the end of a tempting cross from the right and glanced a header beyond Pigott in The Racers goal to put Sporting in front. 0-1.
The game was now being played, almost exclusively, in the Warwick half of the pitch and it was no great surprise when a second goal arrived 12 minutes after the opener. This time, after a corner was partially cleared, the ball was recycled to Bunn on the right. He engineered a superb cross to the far post where Cowley managed to bundle the ball over the line. 0-2.
Sporting weren't quite finished for the half and when Nicol was brought down in the box, Liam Spink stepped up to make it 0-3 from the penalty spot.
HT Racing Club Warwick 0 Bromsgrove Sporting 3. Although the home side had started the game very well, by the end of the half they were well and truly under the cosh.
When Sporting did manage to fashion opportunities they found Warwick stopper Jonathan Pigott in sparkling form.
Sporting won another penalty in the 81st minute, but Pigott produced a very good save to deny Spink his second goal of the game. Two minutes later Pigott pulled off a superb one-handed stop to keep the score at 0-3.
FT Racing Club Warwick 0 Bromsgrove Sporting 3.
With Leicester Road going down 1-0 at Lichfield City, The Rouslers now hold a five point lead and, with nine to play themselves, have two games in hand over The Knitters. Hinckley, who have played one more than Bromsgrove, are a further three points adrift in third place. Sporting travel to the Leicester Road Stadium on April 11 in a game that could effectively see the title decided.
Racing Club Warwick - @rcwfc
Bromsgrove Sporting - @sportingfc