DARREN Byfield declared himself delighted by the efforts of his Redditch United players in his first competitive match as manager – but warned them it counts for nothing as yet as the countdown to the Southern League Premier Division season continues.
The Reds claimed an impressive 2-0 victory over holders and higher ranked National North outfit Worcester City in Tuesday’s Worcestershire Senior Cup semi-final at Stourport Swifts to book a place in Saturday’s (3pm) final at Bromsgrove Sporting, where they will face the winners of Thursday’s other semi between Evesham United and Kidderminster Harriers.
Second half goals from Danico Johnson and new arrival Javia Roberts sealed a deserved win over a strong City side and Byfield was content with what he saw.
“I was very happy with the result but more importantly the performance,” said the Reds boss.
“It was very pleasing to see the boys had really taken on board what I’d asked them to do and that things we’ve worked on in training came off.
“They did exactly what I asked of them and there were many positives to take from the game.
“However, and I’ve stressed this to the players, we haven’t won the cup and we haven’t won any points, so we cannot get overexcited.
“The focus is on doing everything we can to be fully at it come the opening league game against Chesham and there are certainly some healthy signs.”
Byfield was keen to praise the performance of his defensive trio Cameron Young, Clayton McDonald and Duane Courtney.
“Clayton and Duane proved exactly why I’ve brought them here – they are such commanding presences,” added Byfield.
“I was also pleased with Cameron, who is still only 21 and has got better and better during both last season and the time I’ve been in charge in both training and matches.
“Brad Catlow made two excellent saves to thwart Lee Hughes, who is still a prolific striker at this level and has bags and bags of pedigree, so keeping a clean sheet was a very solid effort all round.
“At the other end of the park Clinton (Morrison) made a real impact when he came on at half time. He had a hand in both goals and, with a bit more sharpness, would have scored himself.
“There’s no problem there though, that will come, as his attitude and hunger to score goals is still top class.”
Byfield has made some new additions to his squad over the past week, with pacy winger Roberts having arrived from Hinckley AFC.
Striker Jason Cowley, so prolific for the Reds reserves last season, and promising 17-year-old centre back Ricardo Dudley from Rushall Olympic have also signed and Byfield expects to finalise one or two more new arrivals over the weekend.
MEANWHILE, the Reds are still in the process of finalising where they will play their opening league game against Chesham United on Saturday, August 6.
The match will not take place as scheduled at the Valley Stadium as the new 3G pitch will not be ready in time and options include switching the match to a nearby venue or reversing the fixture to Chesham.
The Reds then face away games at Stratford Town on Tuesday, August 9 and Weymouth on Saturday, August 13, before hopefully entertaining Kettering Town at the Valley on Tuesday, August 16.
Redditch continue their pre-season campaign at Highgate United on Tuesday before visiting Bedworth United on Saturday, July 30.