September 30th, 2016

Reds hit back ahead of stern league test

REDDITCH United bounced back from Saturday’s FA Trophy exit at the hands of Evesham United to progress into the second round of the Birmingham Senior Cup thanks to an excellent 2-1 victory at Sutton Coldfield Town on Tuesday – much to the delight of boss Liam McDonald.

The Reds produced a below-par display as they lost 1-0 at county rivals Evesham in the Trophy first qualifying round, but they hit back in fine style to see off Northern Premier Division hosts Sutton thanks to first half goals from Luke Shearer (penalty) and George Carline.

Now, third placed United head to Chippenham Town on Saturday for an intriguing Southern League Premier Division clash against their fifth placed hosts who are unbeaten in the league on home soil this season.

The midweek success marked the return of Ashley Sammons to the side following his switch back to the Valley Stadium from Corby Town and McDonald was full of praise for the talismanic midfielder.

“It’s great to have Ash back here,” said McDonald. “It was well documented he was feeling a bit low towards the end of his spell at Corby but he’s a great character in our dressing room.

“He’s delighted to be back and in my opinion he is without doubt the best attacking midfielder in this division.

“On Tuesday he had more dangerous shots at goal in the first half on his own than we did as a team at Evesham, where offensively we were disappointing.

“Defensively in both games we were excellent and that’s been a common theme for some time. We have a great foundation to the team in defence.”

McDonald knows a stern test awaits at Chippenham but has called on his troops to relish the occasion.

“No doubt it’s going to be tough and there’s a reason they haven’t lost at home – because they’re a good team. However, Leamington were unbeaten at home too when we went there and we produced a great performance to beat them, so we’ll be looking to replicate that performance level.”

The Reds, who will host National North outfit Solihull Moors in the Birmingham Senior Cup second round on Monday, January 4, last week paid a fee – thought to be in the region of £5,000 – at the tribunal for midfielder Jamey Osborne following his summer switch from Hednesford Town.

“It’s great to have that settled,” said McDonald. “We’d all love to see Jamey make a move to the Football League and we’ve had League clubs on the phone asking about him and at the Valley watching him.

“It’s been the same with George Carline. They are talented players and we know they’ll have their suitors, but they aren’t looking to leave, far from it.

“Of course these lads will get the moves they deserve at some point but we’ve learned our lessons as a club and having them on contracts now protects the club.”

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