Written by Dan Keley.
Image by Neil Jay.
On Saturday afternoon The Valley Stadium hosted the Southern League Premier Central Division fixture between Redditch United and AFC Sudbury.
Redditch knew they may find themselves back into the play-off places if they got a positive result and other results go their way.
AFC Sudbury on the other hand were hoping to get out of the relegation places with a crucial three points depending on other results.
Last time out The Reds crashed out of the Isuzu FA Trophy following a 4-0 defeat away at Radcliffe on Tuesday night in Manchester. Meanwhile, Sudbury came out of their last game with a 0-0 draw after hosting Stratford Town in league action last Saturday.
There were no chances in the opening stages for either side as the match progressed but in the fourth minute things became heated after Sudbury’s left winger, Adam Mills, seemingly dived inside the penalty area which wasn’t deemed yellow card worthy, much to the frustration of Redditch manager Matt Clarke.
The visitors were the first to have a meaningful attempt at goal in the 9th minute of the contest after they took a quick throw in that caught out the Redditch defence, but the Reds keeper Adam Harrison made a great save with his feet to deny the forward and keep the score level.
Three minutes later Redditch had their first attempt on goal after AJ George collected the ball at the edge of the box and showed some neat footwork, but the Sudbury goalkeeper saved his shot.
Six minutes later AJ George did the same thing, but his shot went over the bar as Redditch were looking to turn the screw and get the all-important opening goal.
A minute later in the 19th minute, The Reds did exactly that, as Gift Mussa won a header in the middle of the park to White who played a pass out to the left for AJ George who cut inside and laid the ball into the path of Rowe who left the keeper routed to the spot with a great finish.
Sudbury in the last fifteen minutes of the half were piling on the pressure to get an equaliser. Firstly, the left winger played in Sudbury’s forward, but Harrison was on hand to make the save. Then a corner came in from the left and it fell to a Sudbury player at the edge of the box who took a shot which had Harrison beaten but luckily for Redditch, it came back off the inside of the post. Then in stoppage time at the end of the half, Harrison made a superb save down to his right to ensure Redditch went into the break with a lead.
Into the second half, the visitors had an early chance to equalise, but the shot was fired over the stand. Two minutes later AJ George had a shot that went wide of the post.
Captain Flanagan nearly scored directly from a corner a few minutes later as Redditch pushed for that important second goal. In the 56th minute, The Reds had a chance to do exactly that as AJ George was tripped inside the penalty area. Flanagan (The Ginger Pirlo) made no mistake from twelve yards who fired his penalty into the top left-hand corner to double The Reds lead.
Just after the hour mark Sudbury tried their luck with a direct free kick but again Red’s keeper Harrison kept the visitors at bay. In the 77th minute, Redditch had a chance for the third after Flanagan turned inside the box, but the Sudbury goalkeeper held onto the ball.
In the 82nd minute, the visitors got their rewards for the pressure they were putting on the Redditch goal after the ball hit the post from a shot and it bounced straight to the Sudbury man who headed past Harrison to halve the deficit.
In the closing stages, Sudbury was pressing for an equaliser; firstly forcing Harrison into a save after a shot from distance and then two minutes later with a header that just went wide past the right-hand side post.
Deep into added time King applied the pressure on the Sudbury defender and won the ball back and then sprayed the ball out to Johnston whose shot was tipped behind for the corner which didn’t come to anything, and Redditch held on for a hard-fought win.
The win leaves Redditch within a point of the play-off places going into the festive period with trips to Kettering Town and Stourbridge either side of a Derby Day Boxing Day clash with Alvechurch where kids go free.
Join us for some boxing day fun which includes:
FREE entry for kids (U13’s) – Must be accompanied by a paying adult.
Treasure Hunt (1:30pm-2:45pm)
Final Score: Redditch United 2-1 AFC Sudbury
Redditch United Goals:
Callum Rowe (19)
Reece Flanagan (57 – Penalty)
Player Of The Match:
Adam Harrison – (As voted by JLC Body Repairs)
Next up for The Reds is a trip to 16th place Kettering Town on Saturday 23rd December 2023 with a scheduled kick off time of 3pm.
Thank you for all your continued support. Up the Reds!