LIAM McDonald said he “could not be more proud” of his Redditch United team after seeing them hit back from Saturday’s frustrating FA Trophy exit at Solihull Moors to earn a hard fought point at fellow Southern League Premier Division high-flyers Corby Town on Wednesday.
The Reds were beaten 2-1 at the Autotech Stadium in the FA Trophy third qualifying round as their Conference North promotion-chasing hosts hung on to book a first round date at Conference Premier outfit Dartford in the first round proper, but United showed their powers of recovery to secure a 0-0 draw against the third placed Steelmen on Wednesday.
McDonald, whose side are fourth – just a point behind both Cirencester Town and Corby with games in hand – said: “I had some disappointed young lads in that dressing room on Saturday because they were gutted to lose against Moors.
“They didn’t do themselves justice in the first half but by the end we had a team chasing promotion to the Conference Premier hanging on and, but for one or two very contentious refereeing decisions, we could have got at least a draw.
“However, the response at Corby was fantastic. It’s not often we are happy for the opposition to have more possession than us, but because of some of the personnel unavailable to us we decided to go this way and try and pick them off at the other end.
“The goalkeeper and back four were magnificent, Dior Angus is getting fitter and more dangerous by the game and Jamie Spencer led the line superbly.
“Corby’s manager told me I’d got a team who’d run through bricks walls for the cause and I was so proud to hear that. He’s correct as well.
“To see a young team give two away performances like this in tough games within a few days of each other was brilliant. They stuck to the gameplan perfectly at Corby.”
McDonald was without the services of midfielder Simeon Maye and ill striker Jermaine Hylton on Wednesday, but both will return for Saturday’s visit of lowly Burnham to the Valley Stadium, which is followed by another home game on Monday against Hungerford Town.
The manager, who revealed new midfield recruit from Stourport Swifts, Calvin Dinsley, would start Saturday’s fixture, saw his side fall behind midway through the first half on Saturday when Redditch defender Jim Mutton could only help former Red Liam Daly’s centre into his own net past despairing keeper Sam Hornby under pressure from another ex-United man, Ryan Beswick.
Redditch looked dangerous down both flanks and the impressive Ashley Sammons shot just over the bar from 18 yards, whilst the pace of Hylton needed careful watching throughout the game.
Solihull were unfortunate not to extend their lead when yet another former Valley Stadium favourite, Owen Story, took the ball past two defenders before shooting inches wide of the far post.
As half time approached both Sammons and Hylton went close for the visitors but in the 56th minute Moors doubled their lead when Hornby parried a Daly header from a Dom Langdon long throw, but only as far as Beswick who fired home from six yards.
Redditch came roaring back though and Daly had to make a goalline clearance in the 68th minute before four minutes later the visitors deservedly got on the scoresheet when substitute Spencer was not picked up and he blasted the ball home from 15 yards.
Redditch, cheered on by an excellent travelling support, piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser and they were denied what looked to be a clearcut penalty when Hylton sped past Daly with 12 minutes to go and was brought down by the Solihull skipper, who escaped with just a yellow card when most were expecting a dismissal for an infringement which appeared to be inside the penalty area.
Midfielder Liam Spink in the thick of the action against Moors. Photo by Jon Mullis. 49.014.013.sol.jm8.
Redditch captain Leavi Oshungbure starts an attack. Photo by Jon Mullis. 49.014.013.sol.jm7.