September 29th, 2016

McDonald content as five-star Reds impress

McDonald content as five-star Reds impress McDonald content as five-star Reds impress
Jack Hallahan enjoyed a fine Reds debut against Chesham. Picture by Marie Myers.
Updated: 3:49 pm, Feb 18, 2016

LIAM McDonald said he ‘could not have asked for more’ from his Redditch United side as they boosted their Southern League Premier Division promotion hopes with a 5-0 victory at Bideford on Tuesday.

On the back of Saturday’s hard fought 1-0 home win over Chesham United thanks to Ashley Sammons’ 86th-minute penalty, the Reds returned from Devon with a thumping win to their name as Jim Mutton, Sammons and Luke Shearer (2) got on the scoresheet, in addition to an own goal.

With leaders Poole Town squandering a 2-0 lead to be held 2-2 by Biggleswade Town, the third placed Reds are now just six points off the table-topping south coast side with a game in hand and trail second placed Chippenham Town by the same margin having played three games fewer.

On Saturday McDonald’s men will bid to make it six league wins in seven when they head to Cambridgeshire to face St Neots Town and the manager believes his side are in fine fettle as they enter the final third of the campaign.

“The lads have done everything I’ve asked of them these past two games,” said McDonald. “Given the fact Bideford are bottom, we were expected to win, but we went about our business well, worked hard, defended solidly and put the game to bed impressively with three goals in seven minutes.

“I couldn’t have asked for more really and it was the same on Saturday in many respects. It wasn’t spectacular but we fought really hard to get the win against a good Chesham side who showed what they can do by winning 4-1 at Weymouth this week.

“We’ve got everyone pulling in the same direction and making contributions throughout the team.

“I made some changes tactically on Tuesday because of Bideford’s big pitch as I fancied us to be able to stretch them with Ash (Sammons) in the hole and Shearer up front.

“There was one attack which ended with Ash firing just over after a 26-pass move. It really would have been a fantastic goal and it was pleasing stuff to watch.

“I was also pleased on Saturday, when you could really see the importance of substitutes. Ash got the winner and Danico (Johnson) did well to help George Carline win the penalty.

“I thought Jack Hallahan was outstanding on his debut out wide and he’s going to have a big part to play for us.”

McDonald, who should be able to call on the services of creative midfielder Jamey Osborne this weekend despite the former Hednesford man leaving the action at half time on Tuesday with a tight hamstring, is now looking ahead, but only one game at a time.

“It’s easy for people to get excited with the Hitchin and Poole games just around the corner and I do usually like to set targets for the lads in terms of targeting points from blocks of games, but it really is a game at a time now.

“There’s been talk for a while now about Poole being a big game at the Valley but it could all be irrelevant in terms of being a six-pointer if we don’t get the right results against St Neots and Hitchin.

“Our sole focus is on getting the three points on Saturday. St Neots are a side who play the percentages well and they are a dangerous outfit. They hit us with a sucker-punch at our place to get a draw so we are well aware of what we are up against this weekend.”

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