WORCESTER City overdid the festive generosity by blowing a three-goal lead in a ding-dong derby draw with Bromsgrove Sporting.

Jordan Stoddart’s header and a sublime lob from Lee Hughes had City in cruise control with a second for Hughes, a tap in 29 seconds after the interval, seemingly sealing the points.

Sporting had been flat in the first 45 minutes but were bristling after the break and once they had one back an air of inevitably of what was to come lingered at the Victoria Ground.

After a low-key start in which Sporting made little of their territorial advantage, Hughes dashed on to a long Nathan Vaughan punt and fired a half-volley narrowly across the far post.

Hughes was involved in thwarting Bromsgrove’s early opening when Sam Wills was more fixated with a petulant kick out at his opponent than the ball that bounced right in front of him 14 yards out to the right of goal.

City were quicker to think and act, traits which proved decisive in the opening goal.

Dave Reynolds turned on to a swift throw in down the left and earned a corner from Danny Morris which saw Worcester-born Jordan Stoddart crash in a downward header at the far post from Mat Birley’s inviting inswinger.

City were happy to slow things down and break with speed and Bromsgrove keeper Reece Francis was called upon to block with his legs from an acute angle after Reynolds had pounced on Guy Clark’s slip.

Another Jamie Smith throw down the flank gave Hughes the chance to cushion in for Reynolds to have a free crack from 10 yards but Liam Holt got a deflection to send his effort wide.

Heads were not in hands for long, though, as the half-cleared corner came out to Hughes who turned and lobbed high into the top corner.

Reynolds fired a cross-field pass for Hughes to hold up for Josh Sarmento to clear the crossbar and the strike duo combined again for Brad Birch to arrive in the box only to hesitate at the vital moment with Francis able to gather at the second attempt.

In between all of that, Sporting got forward without convincing but should have got one back in first-half injury-time when Richard Gregory took too long to pull the trigger four yards out and Stoddart slid in to nudge away.

Bromsgrove made a double change at the break but Smith’s clip down the left of the box ended with Reynolds rolling back for Hughes to take a touch and tuck in number three.

However, Sporting substitute John Pykett helped to turn the tide by dashing down the right, chopping back and centring for Gregory to tap in from inside the six-yard box.

Seconds later with Worcester wobbling, Holt’s flicked header from a deep Robbie Bunn free-kick was pushed away by Vaughan as a boisterous crowd scented blood.

Jason Cowley tested the water from distance and then made no mistake on 65 minutes, guiding low across Vaughan and into the bottom right corner after Stoddart had twice headed into the air a Bunn delivery from wide.

A barrage might have been anticipated but City went on the attack from there with Birley’s cross almost dropping in and Reynolds rippling the side netting.

Worcester seemed in control but when Tyler Weir played Birch into trouble just inside his own half Holt raced on to the loose ball with Stoddart lurching in to concede a penalty.

Holt dusted himself down and smashed into the bottom corner to set up a tense final 12 minutes but the only chance of note came when Reynolds fired into Morris’ groin in the 80th minute.

City: Vaughan, Weir, J Smith, Stoddart, Thomas, Hayward, Sarmento (Baldwin 60), Birch, Hughes, Reynolds (M Smith 90+2), Birley (Danks 83). Unused subs: Forsyth, Gwynne.

Sporting: Francis, Jones, Quaynor, Loveridge (Deards, h-t), Clark, Morris, Holt, Bunn, Cowley, Gregory (Brain, 90), Wills (Pykett, h-t). Unused subs: Wilson, Canavan.

Attendance: 1,672.