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By Liam Moakes Thursday 27 December 2012 Updated: 07/01 14:25
REDDITCH UNITED entertain mid-table Gosport Borough tomorrow seeking the victory which would almost almost certainly lift them out of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division bottom two.
Simon Redhead's side looked on course to secure a hard earned point at promotion-chasing Stourbridge on Boxing Day but a deserved 87th minute winner for the Glassboys from James McPike meant they returned empty-handed and remain a point below the safety mark.
The Reds, whose home match against Hitchin Town on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, were always second best but an inspired display from keeper Brad Catlow had looked set to earn them a precious point until the late intervention of substitute McPike sealed a 1-0 win for the hosts.
Given the disparity in league positions between the sides, it was little surprise the visitors came for a draw and the brilliance of Catlow as well as solid defending gave them every chance of achieving their objective.
As early as the second minute Catlow produced a superb save to tip over Drew Canavan's close range strike, but he was a mere spectator midway through the first half when Ben Billingham's 25-yard strike crashed against the underside of the bar before rolling away to safety.
The one-way traffic continued in the second period as former Redditch striker Luke Benbow saw a shot deflected wide before Catlow's brilliant reactions thwarted Leon Broadhurst's header from a cross from another ex-United man, Lee Osborne.
Reds midfielder Stuart Hendrie opened up his old side with a fine through ball midway through the second half as Redditch finally threatened, but young Leavi Oshungbure shot wastefully wide from the chance.
McPike then twice came very close to putting the hosts ahead before the winner finally arrived when Billingham chipped in a free kick and McPike got to the ball first among a crowd of players before firing it past Catlow.
Redditch are also in action on January 1 (3pm) when mid-table Banbury United visit the Valley Stadium.
The Midland Alliance local derby between Alvechurch and Studley at Lye Meadow on Boxing Day fell victim to a waterlogged pitch, as did Alvechurch's scheduled encounter at Causeway United on Saturday and the Bees' home game against Bridgnorth Town.
Tomorrow Alvechurch host Tividale before travelling to Highgate United on January 2 (7.45pm), whilst Studley entertain Westfields tomorrow before travelling to leaders Stratford Town on January 2 (7.45pm).
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