CONFIDENCE is soaring at Redditch United ahead of Saturday’s testing home fixture against AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
The Reds enjoyed a superb bank holiday as they followed Saturday’s thrilling 5-3 home win over Lowestoft Town with a convincing 2-0 victory at local rivals Alvechurch on Monday to take their Southern Premier Central points tally to eight from five games and rise to ninth in the table.
The challenge now for Ian King’s promising young side is to perform with greater consistency and this weekend’s much-faniced visitors from Northamptonshire are likely to provide a stern test of United’s credentials having won four of their five league games so far.
Jak Hickman gave the Reds an early lead against Lowestoft before an unfortunate own goal from Jordan Stoddart drew the visitors level five minutes before the break and Andrew Fisk’s strike put the Suffolk side ahead by half-time.
King’s men were facing an even bigger battle when Jake Reed’s effort made it 3-1 on 51 minutes but substitute Connor Deards gave the Reds hope on 55 minutes and two minutes later it was 3-3 when Dan Sweeney converted from the penalty spot.
The comeback was complete when Sweeney’s superb solo run showing great pace and strength was finished with a neat finish to make it 4-3.
However, the drama was far from finished as Rhys Hilton was brought down in the box, presenting Sweeney with the chance to complete his hat-trick, but this time he fired over the bar from 12 yards.
Having seen their game fall apart, the visitors had Shaun Bammant sent off for a poor tackle on Jordan Staten before Deards put the outcome beyond doubt with his second goal of the game in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Reds’ boss King said: “We came through a tough first half but showed a real resilience and perseverance in the second half with an excellent team effort.
“I am very proud of my players. The way they dug in during the second half to show a real fighting spirit paid off and I believe we thoroughly deserved to win a very entertaining game in the end.”
Two days later the Reds were rewarded for an impressive display with a comfortable success at Lye Meadow thanks to goals early in the second half from Hilton and Callum Coyle.
United captain Stoddart said: “It was a great August bank holiday. A first home win of the season, first away win and a clean sheet. I’ve got to give it to the boys, it’s really coming together now.
The Reds have been drawn to visit Northern Premier Division One South East side Sutton Coldfield Town – a tier below United – in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday, September 7.