Reds are striving to unlock defences - The Redditch Standard
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Reds are striving to unlock defences

Redditch Editorial 12th Mar, 2015 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016

LIAM McDonald says Redditch United will attempt to learn from the frustrations of successive draws against Bideford and Hitchin Town as they bid to clinch a Southern League Premier Division play-off place in the remaining eight games of the season.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Devon in which Ashley Sammons struck a second half equaliser and Monday’s 0-0 stalemate at the Valley saw the Reds – now seventh – extend their unbeaten league run to six matches and move to within three points of Hungerford Town in the final play-off place with a game in hand, although sixth placed St Neots Town, who host Hungerford on Saturday, are also three points above McDonald’s men having also played 36 matches.

However, more clinical finishing against defensively-minded opponents could have left the Reds sitting prettier as they prepare for Saturday’s visit to Dorchester Town.

McDonald said: “Frustration is the word to sum up the two matches, particularly Monday’s. I’ll stress once again the fact these teams set up 4-5-1 and weren’t willing to open up against us shows how highly our opponents respect us and it’s a sign of the progress we have made, but we do need to find more answers now to break them down.

“We had good chances in both games to take the points really, particularly Monday, but it’s not just a case of singling out your attackers if you struggle to score.

“We have to come up with different approaches to try and break these teams down and this is something we will work on in training – patterns of play and different scenarios – because we will face similar opposition again before the end of the season.

“I relish that kind of challenge and so do the players. We are learning all the time and it’s not until you come up against a problem that you start to think of ways to tackle it.”

There were certainly positives for United as they had the better of both games and they have now conceded just three goals in their six-game unbeaten league run.

“We’ve bounced back from our wobble and are on a good run again and the challenge now is to try and keep that run going.” added McDonald, who revealed changes will be made to his side for the trip to Dorset.

“There’s plenty which makes me proud of the team this season. Only the top two sides have a better goal difference than us and we have only conceded a goal a game after 36 matches, which is very impressive for non-league football where you get a lot of high-scoring games and have to make lots of changes to your side over the course of a season.”

Loveridge returns

Midfielder Max Loveridge will return to the fold on Saturday and McDonald said the former Alvechurch man could make a crucial impact during the season finale.

“Max dictates the tempo of a game and can open a defence up from deep, which means the opposition have something else to be wary of.

“We know we have players like Ash (Sammons) who can unlock defences further forward, but to have someone deeper capable of doing likewise is very useful.

“Max has been out of the fray for a long time but it’s great to welcome him back. Dan Scarr is now free from suspension and illness and he’ll be back alongside Clayton (McDonald) in the heart of the defence.

“Dan has been very good for us and in Clayton we have the best defender in the league.

“He’s been absolutely superb since he came in and is also a real threat going forward as well. We’ve had several enquiries about Clayton this week from teams at a higher level who can offer him more than we can, but he’s decided to stay here because he’s enjoying the way we go about things.

“I’m absolutely delighted by that and, on the back of Ash turning down Stourbridge last week, we can be hopeful of a positive finish to the season.”

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