REDDITCH men’s first team had two games to contend with at the weekend having seen the previous week’s match postponed due to bad weather, but unfortunately they emerged empty-handed and have work to do in their battle to beat the drop from the West Midlands Premier Division.
Saturday brought a short trip to leaders Solihull Blossomfield, so Redditch knew they were up against it.
The home team took only a few minutes to assert themselves and continued to attack throughout the first half and the 5-0 half time score showed the gulf in class.
However, with nothing to lose, Redditch gave a much better show of themselves and managed to score a couple of well worked team goals with finishes by Stephen Dawes and Dan Waite in a 9-2 loss.
Sunday was a much more important game as Redditch faced bottom of the table visitors West Bromwich, who had been the league’s whipping boys for the first half of the season.
However, their results of late had improved and Redditch knew they faced a tougher challenge.
The match was fairly evenly contested for much of the first half and goals by Richard Sellors and Calum Pace meant Redditch went in at half time 2-0 up.
The second half was a different story, with Redditch unable to put the game to bed, even with a number of short corners being won.
West Brom scored and suddenly had new-found belief and shortly afterwards they equalised and were in the ascendancy.
Redditch regained the lead through Dawes but West Brom were playing the better hockey and simply wanted it more and two goals in the last five minutes gave them a vital win.
Redditch are fourth from bottom and visit third placed Market Drayton on Saturday.
REDDITCH 2nds enjoyed a 7-2 victory over visitors Evesham in West Midlands Division Two on Saturday.
The result saw the Kingfishers bounce back from the previous week’s defeat to West Brom and complete a league double following the 3-1 win at Evesham in October.
Redditch started the game with a revised formation, with Willmott slotting into the back line and welcoming debutant Connor up front to introduce some youth and energy into the front line.
The first half was all one-way traffic with Redditch pushing hard and creating many chances, but the continual onslaughts failed to trouble the Evesham keeper as Redditch consistently missed the target.
The positives from these openings made Redditch push harder and they finally broke the deadlock shortly before half time. A short corner created the opening when the ball was moved back to the injector who deflected the ball high into the air before it dropped and rolled over the line.
Taking a 1-0 lead into the break was identical to the scoreline in the away fixture, but learnings from then ensured Redditch remained focused and did not allow complacency into the mix.
Redditch continued pushing and extended the lead to 5-0 with Beedon scoring some excellent individual goals with ease and grace from open play.
As Redditch pushed and created some clear daylight, this did leave openings for Evesham who took their chances to score twice.
However, in amongst there goals were further Redditch strikes courtesy of Baker’s trademark penalty corner and a sixth goal of the game from the superb Beedon.
Further positives for Redditch were the experienced Oscroft making a second half appearance which supported the youngsters around him, Cardy solid in goal, the energetic Walton in midfield and Farmer working hard down the right.
Redditch return to league action at Pershore on February 7.
THE KINGFISHERS’ 3rd team were 2-0 home winners over Kings Heath Pickwick in West Midlands Division One.
With a changed team, the flowing style of hockey the 3rds are used to playing was always going to be difficult in this fixture, but Redditch saw off a hardworking and at times physical visiting side.
Ben Sullivan opened the scoring for Redditch with a reverse stick shot from a rebound from a penalty corner.
The second half continued to be played end to end with both teams creating chances and both goalkeepers making vital saves.
However, with Redditch starting to play the better hockey in the latter stages of the game, young Harry Williams – who was making his debut after showing strong performances for the Badgers – scored the second goal after a good move from left to right.
The ball was driven fiercely into the D and Williams was on hand to superbly direct the ball into the goal at the far post.
Redditch visit fellow mid-table side Solihull Blossomfield on Saturday.