Redditch United 2, Cambridge City 4
If the season’s opener is anything to go by – Redditch supporters are going to be in for a thrilling season.
The scoreline may make grim reading but it only tells half the story after the Reds dominated for more than an hour against one of the pre-season favourites.
Liam McDonald’s side eased into a two-goal lead and there would have been few complaints from the visitors had that margin been double.
It all went wrong in the final half-hour though when, McDonald’s youngsters were out-thought rather than out-fought by their more savvy visitors.
Everything was rosy for the Reds early on with the excellent Ashley Sammons handing them a fifth minute lead, placing his shot into the bottom left-hand corner after good approach work from Jamie Molyneux.
And it was Molyneux who doubled the lead on 27 minutes, pushing the ball past defender Will Lawton before squeezing his shot between keeper Zachary Barrett and his near post.
The visitors had no answer to the electrifying pace of Molyneux and Jermaine Hylton and the pair should have increased the lead before the break.
On 40 minutes, Hylton raced in on goal but pushed his shot wide with just the keeper to beat. Less than a minute later Sammons sent Molyneux clear only for him to steer the ball wide of the opposite post.
Add to that a Hylton header over the target from six yards and it would be fair to say it was one-way traffic.
City’s best chance came right on half-time when a free-kick from just outside the box forced Reds keeper Sam Hornby to tip the ball over the bar.
This, together with a few well-chosen words at the interval, seemed to galvanise the visitors. A change of shape begin to frustrate the free-running Reds and Cambridge began to show more intent in front of goal.
They got their reward on 63 minutes when a corner to the near post picked out skipper Lee Chaffey who headed home.
Six minutes later and it was all square. Andrew Phillips got the better of his marker and made no mistake with just Hornby blocking his way.
Cambridge were now controlling things and Lawton went close with a volley that Hornby tipped over the bar.
There was controversy ten minutes from time when Kelly appeared to collide with United’s diminutive midfielder Max Loveridge but the referee pointed to the spot and Josh Beech fired home.
Injury time brought a fourth for City, Kelly lashing home a long ball forward to bring the thrills to a close – for now!
Reds: Hornby 6, Jones 7, Flanagan 6, Oshungbure 6 (Reid 82), Scarr 7, Mutton 7, Loveridge 7, Carline 8, Hylton 7, SAMMONS 9, Molyneux 8 (Ahenkorah 74). Subs (not used): Caines, Bridgwater, Catlow