17th Feb, 2020

Kingfishers step up title challenge

REDDITCH rose to second in West Midlands Division One as a strong second-half performance ended with a 5-2 victory at Edgbaston 3rds on Saturday.

The Kingfishers are still three points off top spot but now only trail leaders Market Drayton ahead of Saturday’s home game against Aldridge & Walsall.

With no substitutes for the second game running, combined with injury worries in the team, Redditch had cause for concern heading into their latest encounter, but they took the lead when a quick attack started in defence by Andy Billingham saw the ball played to Jacob Beard on the halfway line.

Beard turned and fired a ball towards Pete Dawson in the D and the latter deflected the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

Dawson then added a second goal, this time using good skill to beat a couple of defenders before driving into the D and scoring his fifth goal of the season with a reverse stick shot.

Familiar face and ex-Redditch player Paul Markham then scored from a penalty corner to bring the hosts back into the game, trailing 2-1 at half-time.

Possession in the second half was evenly split between the teams, although Redditch converted more of their chances.

A notable performance came from youngster Luke Baker who was making his first team league debut on the right-hand side of defence.

Beard went from provider to scorer, with his first goal coming when Chris Thomas played a ball into him inside the D and Beard turned the defender and shot hard past the goalkeeper into the top corner.

His second came from a penalty corner flicked through the goalkeeper’s legs and Beard’s hat-trick arrived with a well-taken reverse stick strike after excellent approach work from Dan Jakeman.

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