Football
Reds continue their battle for survival

By Liam Moakes 12/04 Updated: 12/04 15:37

EASTER was always likely to prove eventful in Redditch United's battle to retain their Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division status and so it proved as they emerged with six points from their two encounters, although they deserved more for their efforts.

The Reds ran out fully deserving 3-1 victors over county rivals Evesham United at the Valley Stadium on Saturday, but were then unfortunate to slip to a 1-0 loss at play-off chasing Stourbridge on Monday.

The results leave Graham Hyde's side two points above the drop zone with three matches remaining ahead of tomorrow's visit of title-chasing Oxford City to the Valley, although Hyde has this week backed his men to be more than capable of springing a surprise tomorrow, as they have been beaten just three times in the last 11 matches.

The Reds gave a home debut to former Aston Villa star Lee Hendrie in Saturday's derby and the midfielder starred alongside his brother Stuart in the hosts' midfield as they put Evesham to the sword.

Redditch took a 19th minute lead when Lee Hendrie’s free kick was headed into his own net by the unfortunate Lewis Tasker and the advantage was doubled 13 minutes later when young Robins keeper Dan Platt failed to hold Tesfa Robinson's hanging cross and Lee Hendrie was on hand to tuck away the loose ball.

Redditch continued to dominate in the second half and extended their lead to 3-0 on the hour mark when poor defending from Joey Halsall's corner allowed defender Jamie Grimes time and space to beat Platt at his near post.

Platt then produced a brave block on Jimmy Deabill after the towering Redditch striker muscled his way clear before Lee Osborne fired wide as the hosts chased a fourth goal.

As it was, the fourth goal of the match went Evesham’s way when Henry Eze turned in Jared Wilson’s cross seven minutes from time but it was nothing more than a consolation.

Redditch appeared well on course for a deserved point, if not more, at the War Memorial Athletic Ground on Monday, until Nathan Bennett's goal 14 minutes from time handed maximum points to the Glassboys.

Even then United came within a whisker of rescuing a point, but Stuart Hendrie thumped a stoppage time effort against the foot of the post after fine approach play from substitute Luke Benbow.

The visitors were not helped by the absence of Lee Hendrie - who had been withdrawn late on against Evesham with a calf strain - although Hyde is optimistic the former England man will be fit for tomorrow's match.

Despite Hendrie's absence though, Redditch shone for large periods of the second half as Benbow caused countless problems with his pace and combined with Stuart Hendrie to fine effect.

One such move ended with long-serving Glassboys keeper Lewis Solly producing a superb reaction save to thwart the winger and the second half continued in the same frustrating manner for the Reds, who returned empty-handed.

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