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Clean sheet delight at the Valley
7:40pm Sunday 13th October 2013 in Sport
Redditch United 1, Hitchin Town 0
JUST seven days after their five-goal mauling by league leaders Hemel Hempstead Town, there are smiles aplenty around the Valley Stadium.
Back-to-back wins for the first time this season lifted the Reds into the top half of the table but a first clean sheet of the campaign was just as pleasing for manager Liam McDonald who has seen his side ship 35 league goals in just 12 games.
Central defenders Nathan Jackson and Jim Mutton were rock solid while Calum Flanagan and on loan full-back Omar Recci also shone against a Hitchin side that scored four in midweek.
And they also took the points despite playing for more than an hour with just ten men – holding midfielder David Bridgewater seeing red after he was deemed to be the last line of defence when he upended Callum Donnelly on 23 minutes.
In his absence it was left to skipper Leavi Oshungbure to infiltrate the visitors’ midfield and he did so brilliantly, putting in a tireless display in front of his backfour.
Redditch’s best effort of the first half came on 20 minutes, Alex Price teeing up Jermaine Clarke whose shot from the edge of the area forced keeper Tahj Bell in to a smart full-length save.
With their extra man, Hitchin created plenty but lacklustre finishing meant they rarely troubled home keeper Brad Catlow.
He did pull off a low save from a Josh Bickerstaff header on 40 minutes but the visitors’ best effort came on the stroke of half-time when Robbie Burns drilled in a low that that Catlow parried. Jamal Lowe turned home the rebound but from an offside position.
The Reds saw more of the ball after the break with Bell saving from Oshungbure before Ahenkorah and Mutton put chances over the bar.
The breakthrough came on 64 minutes. Jamie Molyneux replaced Ahenkorah and had been on the field less than a minute when to slid in to divert Omari Sterling-James’ low cross into the back of the net.
The goal spurred the visitors on but some outstanding defending kept them at bay with both Recci and Flanagan making goalmouth clearances.
Sam Hornby, who replaced the injured Catlow at the break, saved well from Gary Wharton late on before Michael King crashed a close-range last gasp header over the crossbar.
Reds: Catlow 6 (Hornby 46, 6), RECCI 8, Flanagan 7, Oshungbure 8, Jackson 7, Mutton 7, Ahenkorah 5 (Molyneux 64, 6), Bridgewater 5, Clarke 7, Price 6 (Ballinger 80), Sterling-James 7. Subs (not used): McDonald, Hylton.
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