REDDITCH’S West Midlands League Division One promotion hopes were dented as visitors Aldridge & Walsall inflicted just a second defeat of the campaign on the Kingfishers with a 2-1 victory.
On paper at least, this was a game Redditch may have expected to get points from after five successive victories.
But, not for the first time this season, they went behind after being caught in possession and the visitors counter-attacked at pace, leaving the defence and goalkeeper Joe Cardy exposed.
Redditch tried to settle and get themselves back into the game but too often they found themselves giving the ball away, struggling to find the forwards and therefore not creating many clear-cut chances.
Pete Dawson and Dan Jakeman both fired wide for the Kingfishers before an equaliser arrived prior to the interval when a short corner strike was deflected off a defender into the path of Jakeman. He slid the ball across goal and underneath the keeper before it was tapped in at close range by captain Adrian Young.
In the second half, Redditch struggled to get a grip on the game and, with Aldridge & Walsall playing a very direct and pacy counter-attacking style, the Kingfishers had to rely on good defending by Andy Billingham and some superb saves by keeper Cardy to keep them in the hunt.
After experiencing no problems in finding the net in recent weeks, Redditch were strangely subdued, although a short corner deflection by Billingham was somewhat fortuitously saved by the visiting keeper with his helmet.
Both teams became frustrated in their search for a winner, but it was the visitors who netted the crucial strike with ten minutes remaining. After that they were able to shut out the hosts to take maximum points.
Redditch dropped to fourth as a result of this defeat – they are now six points behind leaders Market Drayton and three adrift of second-placed Ludlow – ahead of two difficult games before the Christmas break.
First up is Saturday’s visit to local rivals Bromsgrove, who occupy third place, before currently unbeaten Market Drayton come to Bromsgrove Road on December 1