Buoyant Reds ready to tackle title-chasers

By Liam Moakes 15/03 Updated: 15/03 12:57

Buy photos » Stuart Hendrie tormented the Chippenham defence throughout Saturday's encounter. Picture by Nick Hands. 1112016NHR1.

MANAGER Graham Hyde said his Redditch United side were relishing tomorrow's visit to title-chasing AFC Totton after extending their unbeaten run to five matches with an excellent 1-0 victory over play-off hopefuls Chippenham Town on Saturday.

And the Reds, who are also in action at the Valley in a rearranged game against Frome Town on Tuesday, remain in big need of points despite taking 11 from the last possible 15 in a five-match unbeaten run in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.

A 15th minute goal from big striker Jimmy Deabill gave United a first home league win since mid-December but, as a result of three successive wins for Arlesey Town, they sit just two places and one point above the bottom four ahead of another important weekend in which Arlesey play host to Evesham United, who are also a point behind the Reds with nine matches remaining.

Hyde said: "We are under no illusions it's going to be a tough test for us tomorrow, but we have nothing to fear by any means as we have performed well on numerous occasions this season against the division's leading sides and we also have some excellent momentum now.

"Everyone is working tremendously hard for the cause and we look particularly solid defensively as a team at the moment, which is always going to give you a chance."

Recent results across the division have seen the bottom three sides become somewhat detached in the fight for survival, with third from bottom Swindon Supermarine now six points below the safety line.

However, the fourth from bottom spot - currently occupied by Evesham - looks set to be occupied by any number of sides in the season's finale as just five points separate 11th placed Bedford Town to Evesham in 19th, with Redditch sitting 17th.

What is for certain is that Redditch are currently doing everything in their power to ensure they do not end up in one of the bottom four places and their performance against Chippenham was superb.

The hosts came flying out of the blocks and, inspired by Stuart Hendrie, they dominated the opening quarter as Sam Adkins fired over before Deabill struck the winner when he played a one-two with Joe Halsall before slotting the ball past visiting keeper Tommy Smith.

Just moments later Hendrie again jinked his way through the Town rearguard and only desperate defending denied Deabill a near certain second goal.

However, the visitors rallied and Toby Osman's header whistled just over the bar before James Guthrie fired into the side-netting just before the break.

The visitors continued to push after the break and Luke Gullick twice may have done better with headed efforts, but largely the Reds' victory was more owing to fine defending - with Alex Hickman particularly impressive - and assured goalkeeping once again from Dean Coleman.

In fact, Redditch came closest to adding to the scoring on the hour mark when only a superb save from Smith prevented Adkins' bending effort from nestling in the back of the net.

Buy photos» Alex Hickman was outstanding at the back for the Reds, as Chippenham's Toby Osman and James Guthrie find out here. Picture by Nick Hands. 1112016NHR2.

Buy photos» United's Sam Adkins gets stuck in against Chippenham's Scott Lye. Picture by Nick Hands. 1112016NHR3.

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