CONVINCING victories over Slough Town and Cambridge City have got Redditch United’s Southern League Premier Division play-off challenge firmly back on track and left manager Liam McDonald purring at his side’s performance levels and commitment.
After 1-1 draws at fellow promotion hopefuls Weymouth and Hungerford Town in which the Reds were unlucky not to collect maximum points on both occasions, Redditch cruised to a 4-0 victory over Slough at the Valley on Saturday before securing an equally convincing 2-0 success in yet another long midweek trek as they saw off Cambridge on Wednesday.
The Reds remain eighth but, with games in hand, are only five points adrift of Hungerford and Truro City who occupy the final two play-off places and are sure to be a big worry to the sides above them in the battle for a top five finish.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from the boys. Hard work has brought maximum points in the past two matches and we’ve secured two fully deserved wins,” said McDonald.
“Our quality shone through and we had too much for both sides, which is something we take a lot of positives from moving on in terms of our belief for the final ten games.
“The lads were disappointed after the games against Weymouth and Hungerford because they didn’t feel their efforts got the rewards they deserved, but I told them if they maintained those performance levels the wins would come and they have. Now we want more of the same.”
United made a blistering start at Cambridge and were 2-0 up inside half an hour thanks to Ashley Sammons’ 15th minute strike which arrowed into the bottom corner and Calvin Dinsley’s 30th minute effort which also nestled into the corner.
Redditch had numerous other chances to increase their lead and at the other end were solid in protecting their advantage, which delighted McDonald.
“I’ve spoken to the team about game management and it was first class on Wednesday,” added the manager. “The players have learned how to protect leads and were doing what they needed to do when not in possession.
“I no longer have to tell them and that’s impressive for a team with so many lads in their early 20s.”
On Saturday goals from George Carline, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Sammons and Simeon Maye put paid to Slough, who were thumped 7-1 by United on home soil in October.
McDonald said: “We had a good crowd in on Saturday and it was pleasing to score lots of goals for them in what was a dominant performance.
“It was great for Courtney (Baker-Richardson) to get off the mark for us because he’s worked very hard for the team and deserves some personal reward.
“Like Luke Shearer, he’s still learning, but there’s a huge amount of potential for us to work with.”
McDonald, whose side travel to Devon to face mid-table Bideford on Saturday before welcoming another mid-table side – Hitchin Town – to the Valley on Monday, was delighted to see both Dinsley and Sammons turning on the style in recent matches, but reserved special praise for midfielder Liam Spink.
“Calvin has been brilliant lately and Ashley has really benefited from a bit of a breather in recent weeks,” added McDonald.
“He’s had teams doubling up on him all season because he’s such a good player and eventually that takes its toll, but he’s shown recently that he is head and shoulders above this level of football.
“Liam Spink has been absolutely superb in these past two games. I haven’t seen successive performances as impressive as that from anyone in my time here. He gets through so much work in the engine room and with his ability on the ball as well it makes him a key player for us.”