REDDITCH United boss Liam McDonald said his side should be proud of their efforts this season, regardless of whether they are successful in clinching the final Southern League Premier Division play-off place.
United head to relegated Arlesey Town on Saturday for the season finale having maintained their outside chance of clinching a top five finish with a 1-0 victory in Saturday’s final home game of the season against Biggleswade Town.
Hungerford Town’s last minute equaliser at Cirencester Town was a setback for the Reds as it means they cannot catch the Berkshire side and are now battling with just St Neots Town and Weymouth to secure a place in the end of season shoot-out.
However, with Weymouth in poor form and on the road at Biggleswade Town and St Neots travelling to a Frome Town side still needing a point to be certain of clinching survival, there is still hope for Redditch as they chase the victory they need and hope for a St Neots defeat and a Weymouth failure to win.
Yet, whether the Reds are eyeing a midweek play-off semi-final at either Poole Town or Corby Town come 5pm on Saturday, McDonald said his side can look back at the season with huge satisfaction.
Speaking after the Reds’ deserved win over Biggleswade, courtesy of George Carline’s 39th minute strike, McDonald said: “We’ve got 72 points now and that’s a superb achievement from where we have come from.
“We’ve progressed immensely, from a side fighting against relegation, then becoming a mid-table side for a while and now into a team which has been in the promotion picture all season.
“We’ve played attacking football, scored lots of goals and introduced young players into the side – some homegrown and others from lower levels.
“It’s given us a great platform for next season, whatever division we are playing in.”
The Reds were full value for Saturday’s win in front of another decent crowd, with Luke Shearer at the forefront of their efforts.
In the first half, the forward and Jordan Jones combined to set up Ashley Sammons but a poor touch let the latter down, before Shearer’s jinking run teed up Calvin Dinsley who fired wide.
Shearer then went close himself, as did giant centre back Clayton McDonald, before Carline netted the decisive goal six minutes before the break when his volley from Dinsley’s centre took a deflection on its way into the net.
There was little goalmouth action in the second half but the only danger to the hosts was the slender margin of their lead as they comfortably secured maximum points.
A supporters’ coach will depart from the Valley Stadium to Arlesey on Saturday and seats cost £15 for adults and £10 for kids. The coach departs at 10.30am prompt.