ANOTHER superb victory which lifted Redditch United into second place in the Southern League Premier Division is the result of hard work and determination to improve says boss Liam McDonald.
Fresh from ending the unbeaten home record of current leaders Leamington, the Reds headed to Wiltshire on Saturday and turned in a top drawer display to do likewise to Chippenham Town and return to the Valley Stadium with a fine 3-0 success to their name.
Whilst McDonald acknowledges his team are full of confidence, he is quick to point out that hard work and attention to detail both on the training pitch and during games is playing a key role in his side’s promotion push.
“Again we were well worth our victory on Saturday and we got it spot on tactically,” said the manager.
“We knew Chippenham would come out with a swagger as they were unbeaten at home, but the lads did exactly as I wanted and defended as I asked in the first half to frustrate them and then we hit them hard in the second half.
“We expected them to launch balls into our box in the second half and they did just that. We stood up to it and hurt them at the other end with slick counter-attacks.
“I think there were only three passes for Ash’s (Sammons) goal and then two passes leading up to Luke Shearer’s penalty which he again won and tucked away coolly.
“The third goal from Max Loveridge was a superb team goal and their manager told me they were lucky not to lose by more. I thought we were outstanding.”
The Reds’ fifth successive league victory and fourth clean sheet in a row was all the more impressive given the number of absentees at Chippenham.
The visitors were without right back Kyle Haynes whose partner went into labour on the morning of the game to give birth to a baby girl, whilst Jamie Ashmore, Simeon Maye, Jamey Osborne and Jamie Molyneux were all unavailable through injury and Jordan Cullinane-Liburd was suspended.
Despite travelling with a paper-thin squad, United’s defensive stars Jim Mutton, Will Richards and Calum Flanagan again excelled and young right back Cameron Young impressed deputising for Haynes, who will now begin a three-match ban following his red card at Leamington.
McDonald was elated with their efforts, adding: “Towards the end of my first season in charge there were people saying ‘Redditch can score goals but can’t defend’. Well, not anymore. The lads and myself as manager take huge pride in keeping clean sheets and the desire in the team is epitomised by the defenders.
“We know when it’s time to defend and then when we need to attack with the pace we have, so it’s going well for us. The key is to maintain this good run as long as we can.
“We know a defeat will come sooner or later, but I feel very confident at the moment that someone is going to have to play outstandingly well to beat us.”
McDonald was keen to praise rookie defender Young for his performance and said his display, coupled with substitute appearances from Dan Swan and Brandon Mutibvu, was evidence of the club’s burgeoning youth system.
“What’s great is that I have faith in being able to turn to these lads to help the team, which is great for them and me. They are very good players and getting experience is what it’s all about for them, whilst also meaning I don’t need to rely on loans to help us when we are short,” he said.
McDonald, whose side return to action at fifth placed Hungerford Town on Monday when he will have both Cullinane-Liburd and Molyneux available for selection, also praised the impact of versatile attacker Shearer who continued his impressing goalscoring form at the weekend.
“Luke has been pretty much unplayable this past month or so,” said McDonald, whose side trail Leamington on goal difference only with a game in hand.
“He’s had and still has got some bad habits in his game, but he really has been working hard and got his head down to the job in hand.
“He’s divided opinion at times, but I’ve always had faith in his ability and if he keeps going like this there’s absolutely no doubt he will play at a much higher level.”