REDDITCH United head into Saturday’s crunch clash at home to Hitchin Town buoyed by a late equaliser in Tuesday’s thrilling FA Trophy second qualifying round tie at Barwell.
Saturday’s original fixture was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, but three days later the sides served up a dramatic contest in Leicestershire in which the sides could not be separated in a 3-3 draw. The teams will try again at the Trico Stadium on Tuesday.
Before that, Ian King’s Reds will first target bringing an end to their dismal Southern Premier Central form which has left them second-bottom. The hosts go into the match five places and five points behind Hitchin.
In midweek, all six goals arrived in the final 26 minutes as Barwell went 2-0 up before being pegged back to 2-2. The hosts regained the lead but Romario Martin’s last-gasp leveller kept Redditch in contention for a visit to Matlock Town in the third qualifying round on Saturday, November 23.
Barwell took the lead on 64 minutes from the penalty spot after Kai Williams was upended and Brady Hickey made no mistake as he fired down the middle from 12 yards.
Redditch rallied well and came close to equalising but it was 2-0 soon afterwards when Jamie McAteer thundered home a bullet header from a corner.
United were in no mood to surrender though and new forward recruit Luke Barlone – in his second spell at the club – took advantage of a poor clearance to smash home.
The visitors then drew level 11 minutes from time when defender Jordan Staten got on the end of a free kick to fire the ball into the roof of the net.
McAteer crashed another header against the post before his team-mate and former Redditch man Tristan Dunkley made it 3-2 with a stunning 25-yard strike.
However, Martin had the final word in injury time to give Redditch a huge lift after the woes of recent months.