By Liam Moakes Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 14/02 11:03
THE YOUNG stars of Redditch United capped a perfect week for the club by inspiring a late comeback in Tuesday's Worcestershire Senior Cup semi-final at Kidderminster Harriers, which booked a place in the final against Stourbridge.
Fresh from Saturday's crucial 1-0 home win over St Neots Town in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division, the Reds headed to Aggborough in buoyant mood and goals in the final five minutes from Leavi Oshungbure and Callum Flanagan clinched a superb 2-1 win which sets up a two-legged final against the Glassboys, for which dates are still to be confirmed.
Of particular delight to United boss Simon Redhead and the visiting fans among the 289 crowd was the impact made by Oshungbure, Seb Jenkins and Jermaine Hylton after their introduction, with the latter in particular proving too hot for Harriers to handle up front.
Harriers made most of the early running and had chances through Ryan Rowe and Danny Pilkington, but both were off target.
Redditch rallied and Flanagan forced Nathan Vaughan into a smart save before Josh Quaynor fired over.
Kidderminster took a 54th minute lead in bizarre fashion when what appeared to be a routine stop by United keeper Brad Catlow ended in unfortunate circumstances for the youngster as he could only drop the ball behind his own line.
Redditch were in no mood to make their keeper suffer for his error though and substitute Oshungbure fired a fierce drive at Vaughan before he levelled in the 86th minute when he curled a fine strike into the bottom corner of the net.
With momentum firmly on their side, fellow substitute Hylton was on hand to convert from close range following a corner to cap his superb performance in the best possible style.
Redditch will now be aiming to maintain this momentum when they visit St Albans City tomorrow, before welcoming Hitchin Town to the Valley on Tuesday for a crucial match in their battle for survival.
As a result of Saturday's win the Reds are now behind third from bottom Hitchin on goal difference only, but have two games in hand.
The precious success came courtesy of a 45th minute strike from makeshift striker Will Richards, as Redhead continues to search the leagues for a new striker.
It was a deserved triumph on a difficult pitch and, as well as clinching the double over the Cambridgeshire outfit, it ended a five-match losing streak.
Richards pounced after on some hesitant defending from Gavin Hoyte as he robbed him of possession before bursting forward to fire home past visiting keeper Jack Giddens.
Redditch had already struck the bar through Liam McDonald's free kick and Connor Deards fired a whisker wide after a superb run.
At the other end Catlow denied Ben Mackey and Dan Jacob at point blank range and these saves proved crucial as, once Richards had struck on the stroke of half time and the visitors had seen centre back Arthur Lee sent off for a second booking midway through the second half, the Reds were able to relax a little.
Quaynor and Mark Hands went close to adding a second goal for Redditch in the closing stages, before the visitors produced a late rally which came to nothing as the hosts held on.
UNITED'S vital home match against basement boys Kettering Town has been designated as a family fun day with numerous junior sides in attendance that day and therefore admission to the match will be reduced to £5 for adults and £2 for children if tickets are bought in advance. For more details call the club on 01527 67450.
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