REDDITCH United gave a good account of themselves but were denied a place in the Worcestershire Senior Cup final as National League North side Kidderminster Harriers won 3-2 at the Trico Stadium.
Both sides continued with pre-season experimentation in Tuesday’s semi-final and it was the visitors who prevailed to book a final place against Evesham United at the Jubilee Stadium on Tuesday.
Harriers led after five minutes and would have increased their advantage but for some good saves from Brad Catlow, but the Reds levelled just after the half hour mark when defender Orrin Pendley turned in a Danny Jackman corner.
However, Harriers led 3-1 by half time as they took advantage of a United side forced to reshuffle following a shoulder injury to defender Jack Coates.
Strike pair Dior Angus and Curvin Ellis had ‘goals’ ruled out for offside early in the second half – one highly debated by the home support – before trialist Keegan Woolley made one count on 74 minutes with a fierce effort which went in off the underside of the bar.
Darren Byfield’s side pushed for an equaliser in the final stages but the closest they went was an Angus effort which zipped across the face of goal.
Sporting seen off
IMPRESSIVE Reds United claimed their first pre-season victory as they cruised to a 3-1 success over local rivals Bromsgrove Sporting at the Trico Stadium on Saturday.
It was the Rouslers’ first warm-up loss on the back of three victories in which they had scored 20 goals without conceding.
Pauly Apostolopoulos and Danico Johnson had given the Southern League Premier hosts a 2-0 half time lead before the former added his second of the game five minutes after the restart.
John Pykett then reduced the arrears in the 68th minute and, despite a late surge, the Rouslers could not add to their tally in front of a 574-strong crowd.
Redditch made a flying start as marauding new left back Nathan Fox eased himself down the left wing before pulling the ball back to Apostolopoulos who coolly side-footed the ball into the far corner.
Sporting goalkeeper Reece Francis then had to be at full stretch to deny McCauley Manning’s long-range effort from finding the top corner three minutes later.
Wade Malley and Joe Ward then both saw shots saved by Reds keeper Catlow up the other end moments later.
Sporting seemed to be lacking their sharpness from their previous three friendlies as a Ben Birch error almost let Manning make it 2-0 after 36 minutes, but Francis made himself big to make a crucial save.
However, two minutes later Francis was beaten as a clever through ball from Manning put Johnson in on goal and the latter calmly slotted the ball under the onrushing Sporting keeper.
On the stroke of half time it was almost 3-0 as the industrious and skilful Manning saw an angled shot drift agonisingly wide of the far corner.
Just like the start of the first period, Sporting conceded inside five minutes as a poor lofted ball at the back by Daniel Morris was picked up by Apostolopoulos who surged into the box before blasting the ball home to extend the Reds’ advantage to 3-0.
Following a string of substitutions, Sporting’s tempo picked up and they pulled one back with 22 minutes to go as Pykett netted the rebound from Jason Cowley’s rasping curling effort which cannoned off the crossbar.
Six minutes later the Reds almost restored their three-goal advantage but the post prevented Angus from getting on the scoresheet after he got on the end of Ellis’ low cross from the right.
With ten minutes to go Angus was again involved and was unlucky not to find the back of the net when his drilled shot from inside the area whistled just beyond the far post.
Pykett then blasted over from a tight angle in the 85th minute as Sporting were beaten by their Step Three opponents.
The Reds continued their pre-season preparations last night (Thursday) at Highgate United. Byfield’s side then visit Stourbridge on Tuesday.