A LAST-MINUTE winner from Romario Martin secured Redditch United a thrilling 3-2 FA Trophy second qualifying round victory over Barwell on Tuesday.
The sides had drawn 3-3 in Leicestershire at the first time of asking as Martin’s last-gasp strike kept the Reds in the competition and he was at it once again to book United a third qualifying round tie at Northern League Premier Division outfit Matlock Town on Saturday.
Just three days after Redditch’s dismal Southern Premier Central league form had continued with a 2-0 home defeat to Hitchin Town – leaving the Reds four points from safety after a tenth defeat of the campaign – this continued Trophy progress and the financial benefits does provide some hope for the season.
Redditch banked £3,000 in prize money thanks to Martin’s winner which arrived on the counter-attack after the hosts cleared a Barwell corner and Ben Mclean did superbly well to carry the ball from the edge of his own box to the other end of the pitch before setting up Martin to lash home.
The visitors took a 35th-minute lead when dangerman Tolani Omotola lofted the ball over keeper Kieran Boucher following Kai Williams’ assist, but Redditch drew level before the break when Martin pounced on some lacklustre defending to fire the ball low and hard into the net.
Barwell began the second half with plenty of purpose and were rewarded when captain Brady Hickey found himself unmarked in the box and the midfielder converted a low Elliot Percival cross from the right.
Redditch were not to be denied though and levelled for a second time when full-back Ryan Moore delivered a superb cross into the box for Liam Truslove to power a header into the top-right corner.
Both sides had plenty of chances and Redditch looked a totally different side to the weekend as Louis Monaghan went close on a number of occasions and Truslove twice forced the Barwell keeper into fingertip saves to long-range strikes.
Ultimately though, Barwell were left to rue their own misses, not least from former Redditch man Tristan Dunkley who struck the bar in the first half and missed a simple tap-in during the second period.
Report compiled with the help of Noah Williams.