21st Mar, 2019

Testing time for United’s players

Redditch Editorial 30th Aug, 2018

REDDITCH United’s players will have to show strength of character at Leiston on Saturday when they will attempt to bounce back from a bitterly disappointing bank holiday weekend.

Paul Davis’ side were beaten 1-0 at fellow early-season strugglers Hitchin Town on Saturday before slipping to a thumping 3-0 defeat at local rivals Alvechurch 48 hours later.

A challenging test now awaits in Suffolk as Redditch bid to improve on their Southern Premier Central points tally of three from five games.

Dan Webb’s first half goal proved enough for Hitchin as the Reds produced a below-par display despite having their moments.

Visiting keeper Louis Connor was the busier of the two stoppers throughout the match, but was powerless to prevent Webb converting at the back post from debutant Noah Chesmain’s deep cross in the 19th minute.

Shaquille Whittingham twice went close for the visitors before the break and Reds captain Joel Meade fired wide from point-blank range shortly into the second half after the ball had fallen kindly to him from Joe Stokes’ corner.

However, Davis’ men could have few complaints about the outcome, especially as Hitchin wasted a golden chance to double their advantage shortly before the hour mark when Elliott Bailey blazed a penalty wildly over the bar.

Connor made further saves before Hitchin’s Isaac Galliford crashed a strike against the bar in the 77th minute.

Any hopes of bouncing back two days later at Alvechurch were ended in emphatic fashion when the hosts surged into a 3-0 lead inside 20 minutes.

Dave Bellis netted after just 29 seconds, Josh Ezewele then fired home an angled effort before Reds defender Jordan Mills deflected a Kieron Cook cross into his own net.

In the opening seconds Alvechurch lifted the ball forward and, after Connor had blocked Cook’s snap-shot, the ball eventually ricocheted into the path of Bellis who headed in from close range to open the scoring after just 24 seconds.

Tom Winters’ free-kick forced a good save from home keeper Matt Sargeant but it was 2-0 when Josh Ezewele – brother of Redditch’s Louis – cut inside and fired an excellent low strike past the outstretched Connor.

Then, a low driven cross from Cook on the left was turned into his own net by Mills in his attempts to hook the ball away from danger.

Redditch were much-improved in the second half and Montel Gibson, Whittingham and Giancarlo Gabbiadini – making his first appearance of the season – went close, but the damage was already done.

Meanwhile, the Reds have been drawn to host Rugby Town in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday, September 8 following the Warwickshire side’s 1-0 victory over Evesham United on Saturday.

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