REDDITCH United gave a creditable account of themselves but came up short in their bid to win the Worcestershire Senior Cup as they were beaten 3-1 by Worcester City in Saturday’s final at Bromsgrove Sporting.
After falling behind early on against their higher ranked National North opposition, the Reds hit back immediately to level through Luke Shearer’s penalty and the outcome was not decided until Tristian Dunkley’s late strike made it 3-1.
Liam McDonald’s Redditch side had reached the final thanks to impressive wins over Stourbridge and Kidderminster Harriers, so were undaunted by facing a Worcester side expected to challenge for promotion this coming season, and this was evident in a keenly contested first half.
It was a lively opening to proceedings and, after United’s Liam Spink had ballooned an effort high and wide of Nathan Vaughan’s goal, Worcester took the lead with their first half-chance.
Just six minutes had elapsed when Sean Geddes whipped in the kind of free kick a striker dreams of and the striker arriving was Daniel Nti who got the slightest touch to divert the ball past Josh Moreton.
The Southern Premier Division side were far from overawed by their higher league opposition and had two good opportunities to equalise as Jamey Osborne’s close range effort was well saved by Vaughan before Shearer’s downward header went harmlessly wide.
Redditch’s equaliser did come after 17 minutes, however, when Osborne’s free kick was handled in the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Shearer confidently stepped up to send Vaughan the wrong way.
There was plenty of desire on show at the Victoria Ground, used in place of the unfit Aggborough, even if there was a feel of a pre-season friendly as the midway point of the first half rolled past.
However, with virtually the last kick of the half, Geddes showed the quality that captured the attention of so many last season. The talented attacker watched as Nti’s effort was well blocked and he picked up the rebound and rifled home a volley from 20 yards.
Worcester started the second period the way they ended the first with Kieran Morris’ long-range strike forcing Moreton into an early save and Nti’s effort fizzing over the top of the bar.
Ashley Vincent was brought on for the hard-working Ryan Rowe after 55 minutes and almost made an immediate impact but his glancing header drifted just past the post.
The National League North outfit’s experience showed as the half wore on and, just as the game seemed to be destined to finish 2-1, substitute Dunkley raced on to an Ellis Deeney through ball and delicately chipped the ball over Moreton to put the game to bed.
Vincent could have added a fourth moments later as his powerful strike was well kept out but it was irrelevant as the whistle blew two minutes later and Worcester celebrated.