THE TENTH Redditch United Schools Cup final brought a repeat of last season’s outcome as Walkwood again got the better of St Bede’s, albeit by the narrowest of margins.
This community event for the town’s middle schools is organised thanks to generous support from the Redditch United Supporters Club and the Reds, who provided a fantastic facility, qualified referees, medals for all the players and food after the game.
This year was a repeat of the last final, with St Bede’s looking to avenge last year’s narrow defeat by Walkwood.
The first half was played at a frenetic pace, with Walkwood shading it and going ahead on 33 minutes when a through ball from Arran Richmond was slotted home by Owen Rae.
In the second half St Bede’s started to play some good attacking football and a deserved equaliser arrived in the 50th minute when George Wynne created the chance for Preston Checkley – whose pace, power and constant threat earned him the man of the match award – to score a fine goal.
A noisy and enthusiastic crowd in excess of 200 created a marvellous atmosphere and urged both teams on as the game went end to end, with both goalkeepers making good saves.
Both sides played some excellent football in what was probably the most tense and exciting half of all ten finals and it seemed St Bede’s might avenge last year’s narrow defeat as they pressed hard.
However, with the game about to be decided on penalties, Walkwood broke out and a cross by Richmond gave Ellis Browning the chance to win the game 2-1 for Walkwood.
It was a heartbreaking way to lose for St Bede’s in a game which could have gone either way, but both teams can be proud of the effort and skill shown in a most entertaining game played in the right spirit.
Redditch United chairman Chris Swan presented the medals and cup at the end of another excellent community occasion.
Report and pictures by Pete Toolan.
MEANWHILE, Redditch United have slumped to second-bottom of Southern Premier Central after another disappointing week.
Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Barwell was followed by a 4-0 loss at new leaders Hednesford Town on Tuesday and Ian King’s young side have now lost seven league matches in succession.
This Saturday brings an FA Trophy tie at home to Corby Town and victory in the first qualifying round would bring a much-needed confidence boost to the United squad.
However, Corby are flying high in second in Southern League Division One Central and, yet to taste defeat in the league, are sure to provide a stern test.
On Saturday Barwell grabbed the only goal just past the half-hour mark when a long ball over the top caused problems for Redditch’s keeper Kieran Boucher and his defence.
With the ball not being properly cleared, it eventually fell kindly for Omotolani Omotoka who rolled the ball into an empty net.
The Reds had first half chances as Jak Hickman’s strike was saved and Louis Monaghan’s drive was tipped over after a surging run.
Boucher more than redeemed himself with a string of impressive saves to keep Redditch in the game but the closest his side came to an equaliser was when substitutes Rhys Hilton and Romario Martin combined but the latter was thwarted by a last-ditch challenge in the second half.