Richards' brace lifts Reds out of drop zone

First published in Sport

Redditch United 4, Kettering Town 1

REDDITCH climbed out of the drop zone with an emphatic victory over fellow strugglers Kettering.

Three first half goals did the damage, striker Will Richards leading the way with a quick-fire double just before the interval.

The Reds could have opened their tally inside three minutes when Richards rounded visiting keeper Ash Talbot but failed to get in a shot.

Seconds later there was drama at the other end with debutant keeper Paul Maynard losing out to Lewis Wilson only for the striker to push his shot wide of the target.

Tricky forward Jermaine Hylton jinked through the Kettering defence before pushing his shot the wrong side of the post while Leavi Oshungbure had an effort blocked as the Reds looked to turn their possession into goals.

The breakthrough finally came midway through the half when a delightful centre from Liam McDonald fell to Asa Charlton who, lurking inside the area from a previous set-piece, turned and fired home from 15 yards.

Richards struck his first on 39 minutes, finding the net from ten yards following another excellent ball into the danger zone from McDonald.

When the striker doubled his tally four minutes later, after a fumble by keeper Talbot, the points should have been in the bag for Simon Redhead’s side. But it was a fired-up Kettering outfit that emerged for the second half as they looked for a way back into the game.

Lewis Wilson forced Maynard into a save on the hour before Jamie Griffiths reduced the arrears 13 minutes from time.

But the goal sparked the home side back into life and they finished the stronger with Richards and Charlton going close in the closing stages.

Injury time saw George Washbourne net his first since arriving on loan from Forest Green Rovers, the young winger finding the net with a curling free-kick from out wide.

With the game part of a day-long spectacular to mark the relaunch of the club’s youth section, more than 600 were there to witness the Reds hauling themselves out of the relegation zone.

Reds: Maynard 5, Moran 6, Flanagan 6, Charlton 8, Hickman 7 (Quaynor 46, 7), HANDS 9, Oshungbure 7, McDonald 7, Hylton 7 (West 64 (Deards 75)), Richards 8, Washbourne 7. Subs (not used): Catlow, Costello.

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