REDDITCH United were unable to halt their dismal recent FA Cup record as they suffered a 3-1 defeat to lower-ranked Sutton Coldfield Town in Tuesday’s first qualifying round replay.
Hosts Reds took the lead midway through the first half through Michael Nelson’s finish at the far post but the visitors were level ten minutes later from the penalty spot when Reece Leek converted after Nicholas Okoro had been upended in the box.
Sutton grabbed the lead via Joel Powney’s 20-yard free kick eight minutes from time and, with Ian King’s side throwing men forward in search of a late equaliser, the Northern Premier League Division One South East team made sure of a deserved victory with a goal on the counter-attack on 85 minutes when substitute Louis Monaghan released Isa Marselia to convert.
Redditch will feel hard done by having created numerous chances, particularly in the first half, but they were wasteful and a hugely determined Sutton – without a point in the league – grew in confidence as they went on to bag the £4,500 prize money and earn a second qualifying round tie at Kettering Town.
Saturday’s initial tie was also hard-fought, albeit low on quality, with a 1-1 draw the fair result.
Birmingham City loanee Rhys Hilton fired the visitors ahead with superb 25-yard strike which arrowed into the bottom corner midway through the second half but Sutton levelled via Marselia’s header soon afterwards when a corner was not sufficiently cleared.
Redditch, who return to Southern Premier Central action at Tamworth on Saturday before hosting Coalville Town on Tuesday, were suitably impressed by Monaghan and have swooped to sign the midfielder from Sutton.