20th Jan, 2018

Reds aiming for more of the same after goal frenzy

Liam Moakes 11th Jan, 2018

RESURGENT Redditch United head to Dorchester Town on Saturday bidding to maintain their momentum after scoring 11 goals in successive league and cup victories.

Saturday’s superb 7-1 Southern League Premier home win over Farnborough was followed by an ultimately convincing 4-1 victory at Cinderford Town on Tuesday which booked the Reds’ place in the last eight of the League Challenge Cup.

In midweek, after Ash Sammons had missed a penalty for the Reds, Myles Phipps gave the visitors the lead in the 37th minute before Paul Michael restored parity for the Southern League West outfit just before the break.

However, two goals in the final 20 minutes from in-form Stuart Fleetwood and Lewis Wright’s effort sealed another welcome victory for a strong Reds side, who had played some superb football in thrashing Farnborough at the Trico on Saturday when Fleetwood netted four times.

The challenge now is to produce more of the same impressive football as the Reds look to push back towards the top ten and new boss Tim Harris, whose side welcome Banbury United to the Trico on Tuesday, believes his men are more than capable.

Reacting to Saturday’s victory, he said: “It was a much-needed win and we achieved it playing well. We played some really good football and scored some really good goals.

“Players have got to believe in what we’re trying to do but the work ethic was really good. Everyone is like a new signing to me at the moment as most of the players here, with the exception of experienced people like Ash Sammons, Stuart Fleetwood and Danny Jackman, are not well known to me.

“Everyone will get a fair chance, but we’ve added some pace to the side and we looked good.”

Within 60 minutes of his home debut, Fleetwood had bagged four goals and sparked a dazzling display to seal the Reds’ biggest league win of the season – and all this after they had fallen behind.

With a goal on his debut for the lively Adam Page, plus strikes for defender Marcel Simpson and full back Wright, it was a cracking way to give Harris his first victory in charge since replacing Darren Byfield.

Harris admitted it has been a time of turmoil for the Reds, with four players making their home debuts, but he was naturally delighted with the performance and dedicated the win to the Reds fans.

Fleetwood on fire

They have found a new hero in 31-year-old Fleetwood after his arrival from Merthyr Town. The striker has an impressive CV with spells at Charlton Athletic, Luton Town, Forest Green Rovers, Hereford and Cardiff and such know-how provided the finishing touch to some slick passing, smart movement and razor-sharp play.

“Stuart has always been a goalscorer,” said Harris. “When he works as hard as he did on Saturday he gets his reward because he has got plenty of quality.

“As long as we can get the ball in the right areas, Stuart will get goals, but it all comes down to having a good work ethic.”

Fleetwood took the man of the match award but it was far from a one-man show. Sammons and Jackman gradually took control of midfield and the pace of Page, on loan from Cheltenham Town, Edji Mbunga and Tristian Dunkley ripped open Farnborough time and again.

However, it was the visitors who struck first, with Josh Huggins ghosting in unmarked to meet a far-post corner from Nic Ciardini and knee the ball over the line on 11 minutes.

The advantage, however, lasted only two minutes before Page slotted home when Simpson nodded back Sammons’ free kick to equalise.

From another free kick, this time from Jackman, centre back Simpson again got to the far post to convert before Fleetwood made it 3-1 just before half time, providing a simple finish after Page crossed from the left.

Page claimed another assist after crossing for Fleetwood to nod in from six yards five minutes into the second half before Mbunga’s through ball sent his fellow striker charging through and he slotted home with the minimum of fuss.

Another ball over the top was again collected by Fleetwood to lob keeper Pat O’Flaherty to make it 6-1 on the hour but the best goal was yet to come.

That followed on 80 minutes when Wright made it a magnificent seven, taking another perfectly weighted Sammons pass and cutting inside to drill home a low shot.

“I’ve got to dedicate that performance to the supporters,” said Harris. “They’ve stuck by the club. They’ve had a tough time.

“Things haven’t been right on and off the pitch in terms of players and performances.

“This was for the supporters. I thank them for the support they have given me since I’ve been at the club.”

Harris has no new injury concerns ahead of Saturday. Page, who missed out on Tuesday, is expected to return to the side, whilst Nathan Fox and Wright are also expected to feature.

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