Football
Reds suffer appeal setback

By Liam Moakes 01/03 Updated: 01/03 15:54

IT is fair to say Redditch United will not hold fond memories of Chesham United when they reflect on the 2011/12 season.

Just five days after seeing the promotion-chasing Buckinghamshire outfit deprive them of two precious points with a last-gasp equaliser at the Valley Stadium, the Reds then discovered they had definitely failed in their bid to get October’s abandoned fixture at Chesham replayed.

The Reds will now have to shake off both setbacks as they head to mid-table Barwell tomorrow bidding to increase the three-point gap between themselves and the bottom four.

Reacting to the news their bid to ensure the Chesham away fixture - which was abandoned when the now banned Redditch striker Josh McKenzie struck the referee - had failed, the Reds issued the following statement.

“An FA Appeal Board chairman has refused an application by Redditch United to reopen a decision of December 12 in which the away fixture at Chesham United was forfeited.

“The Evo-Stik Southern League had ruled the fixture be replayed but Chesham United appealed against that decision directly to the FA.

“Redditch United wanted to make strong representations at the appeal hearing but the Evo-Stik League advised the club it could not and that the club’s only redress would be to apply to the High Court.

“We have forcibly submitted that, as a party directly affected by the decision we should, as a matter of natural justice, have had an opportunity to be heard.

“In refusing our application for the appeal to be reopened we have been told the Evo-Stik League did not advise the FA we had made an attempt to be heard and that we should have applied to the FA directly.

“In effect, it seems we are being told we should not have relied upon what we were told by our own league.

“All we have ever wanted was a fair opportunity to have our voice heard before a vital decision involving our club was made and this basic right has been denied to us.”

The points from the first match will now remain in Chesham’s grasp and Redditch have 12 matches left in which to clinch their survival.

They came within moments of hugely increasing their chances on Saturday, only for an injury time goal to cost them two points.

The only highlight of a dull first half was the Reds’ 39th minute opener which saw striker Luke Benbow lift the ball over the visiting rearguard to allow onrushing midfielder Joe Halsall the chance to convert from close range.

A gritty encounter largely contested in midfield continued in the same fashion after the break, with Redditch’s best chance falling to Lee Osborne, only for Chesham keeper Shane Gore to tip his drive over the bar.

Given what was gone on between the sides this season, it was perhaps inevitable the match turned sour for the Reds at the death as substitute Tom Warmer was dismissed for a lunge in the 88th minute - a red card which his boss Graham Hyde strongly refuted - before Chesham substitute James Potten curled a fine free kick into the top corner in the final action of the game to earn the visitors a point.

The Reds are also in action on Wednesday evening when they travel to third bottom Swindon Supermarine, who are currently four points below them.

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