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Richards strike lifts the Reds
1:14pm Monday 4th February 2013 in Local Sport
Redditch United 1 St Neots Town 0
SIMON Redhead praised Redditch United’s battling spirit in securing their first win in three months – and demanded more of the same to keep the club in the Southern Premier.
Will Richards’ opportunistic strike earned the Reds’ their first win since November 17 to complete a league double over St Neots.
It provided a much-needed boost for Redhead’s relegation scrappers, not only with the three priceless points, but with a performance full of determination, drive and guts.
That was essential on a bog of a pitch – and Redhead stressed such qualities will be indispensible in the fight to escape the drop zone.
“Our attitude was first class, our application was great,” said Redhead. “We know it’s going to be a battle in every game and we’ve got to battle for every single minute.
“It was a big result for us after having a run of five defeats on the spin hanging over us. We stopped that slide.
“It was a real pudding of a pitch and it was difficult to create chances but we deserved the points.”
A quagmire of a pitch after all the recent snow and rain made it a war of attrition but the Reds, full of endeavour and flashes of skill, looked the more threatening.
The sticky surface, however, had a role in the only goal on the stroke of half-time.
Saints defender Gavin Hoyte struggled to control a backpass after Gary Moran’s punt forward, but that was the invitation for Richards to chase him down, snaffle possession and then gallop forward to slot home past keeper Jack Giddens.
The Reds could have been ahead before then, with Liam McDonald hacking a 25-yard free-kick against the bar, newcomer Dean Bennett having a penalty appeal for handball turned down, and Connor Deards prodding wide after a dazzling run.
But Redditch were also indebted to young keeper Brad Catlow for vital saves either side of Richards’ strike. The keeper bravely hurled himself to block Ben Mackey’s close-range strike and then excelled again to save at the feet of Dan Jacob after he had burst through on goal.
After the Saints’ centre-back Arthur Lee was sent off for a second booking with 22 minutes to play, the Reds had further chances when Giddens pushed aside Josh Quaynor’s swerving shot and Mark Hands’ dipping effort dropped over.
But the hosts also had to survive a late flurry of St Neots pressure as the all-action Hands blocked Hoyte’s powerful shot and Alex Hickman cleared Lewis Hilliard’s header.
Delight– and relief – greeted the final whistle as the three points hauled the Reds level with third-from-bottom Hitchin Town, who have played two more games.
REDDITCH: Catlow 8; Moran 6, Hickman 7, Costello 7, Charlton 6; Deards 6, Hands 8, McDonald 6 (Oshunburne, 90), Quaynor 8; Bennett 7 (Hylton 87), Richards 9. Subs not used: Flanagan, Cresswell.