REDDITCH United inched closer to Southern Premier Central safety with a hard-fought goalless draw against Tamworth and boss Paul Smith was delighted with the manner in which the point was earned.
The Reds, keen to bounce back from the chastening 4-1 defeat to promotion hopefuls Stourbridge, faced a Tamworth side who had won seven of their previous eight games but United more than matched their visitors to leave themselves with a nine-point cushion to the relegation places with just six matches remaining.
Clearcut chances were at a premium, although the Reds looked the more likely winners the further the game progressed and came close through Josh Hawker and Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham, with midfielder Robbie Bunn pulling the strings impressively throughout.
Ahead of Saturday’s visit to play-off hopefuls Coalville Town, Smith said: “It was an excellent performance from both sides and neither deserved to lose. Given the form Tamworth have been in, it’s definitely a point gained.
“We were strong and competed really well across the park. It was a committed and wholehearted performance against a side who have been going like a juggernaut lately and overall I have been delighted with the lads in recent weeks.”
Smith was particularly pleased by the strong displays of midfield three Bunn, Hawker and Michael McGrath, with Bunn drawing particular praise.
“I expect performances like that from him now,” said the manager. “He is an outstanding player and even nicer kid and he is head and shoulders good enough for this league and levels above actually.
“The three of them worked really well in midfield together and we want more of the same at Coalville. We’re expecting another tough game, but if we produce the same level of performance then we will have a great chance of getting something.”
As the Standard went to press on transfer deadline day, Smith had swooped to sign striker Luke Yates from league rivals Alvechurch.
“Luke is a player who has been on my radar for a while now. I’m delighted to have been able to sign him – a young, raw talent who ticks all the boxes,” said Smith.
Yates’ arrival follows the departure earlier in the week of forward Jack Storer. Smith added: “After a discussion with Jack over the weekend, it was decided this would be the best decision for all concerned.
“Both Jack and his agent are actively seeking to get higher up the pyramid at the earliest opportunity. He has unbelievable talent and I hope he can get to where he wants to be.”