Late winner hurts Reds

Poole Town 2, Redditch United 1

BATTLING Redditch were left cursing their luck in Dorset after promotion-chasing Poole Town plundered a 90th-minute winner to steal this keenly contested clash.

Despite suffering an early barrage of pressure, United got straight back on equal footing after conceding the opener midway through the first half and went on to more than compete with their high-flying hosts.

But there was a sting in the tail for Reds when fleet-footed winger Carl Preston found himself free on the left side of the penalty area to curve a composed finish round Sam Hornby which cannoned in off the far upright.

Boss Liam McDonald made three changes to the side which lost 4-1 at Cambridge City on Wednesday with two new recruits blooded in Redditch’s first trip to Tatnam Road.

New signing Tyrone Williams, on loan from Kidderminster Harriers, Calum Flanagan and Leavi Oshungbure were handed places in the starting line-up in place of Joe Ballinger, Jim Mutton and Jamie Molyneux.

United seemed set for an arduous afternoon as Poole poured forward during the opening 15 minutes with Hornby forced to block efforts from Steve Devlin, Michael Charles and Jon Davies.

But a handling error from the Reds stopper was to indirectly lead to the first goal as the hosts forced a series of flag kicks before Charles headed home Devlin’s inswinger at the far post with Hornby rooted to the spot.

However, United refused to capitulate and got back on terms within two minutes when tricky wideman Omari Sterling-James bamboozled Poole defender Sam Clarke before drawing a foul in the penalty area and Sam Youngs scored the resultant spot-kick.

The home side spurned further chances through Dan Cann and Preston before a second new face, former Hednesford midfielder and Aston Villa youngster Umit Eminoglu, replaced injured Redditch defender Nathan Jackson five minutes before the break.

Hornby had to be alert to smother at the feet of Preston and tip over Davies’s fizzing drive before the break and while Poole had their share of presentable chances after the restart, Reds rallied and caused concern of their own.

Harvey Headley almost connected with Ashley Sammons’ swirling free-kick while quick-fire shots from Youngs and Jermaine Hylton almost proved too hot for Poole’s Dan Thomas to handle.

The latter stages appeared to be petering out into scrappy stalemate but, bang on cue, Preston popped up with the last-gasp winner after Poole had coolly moved the ball across midfield to find their match winner in a pocket of space. Reds: Hornby 7, Williams 6, Flanagan 7, Oshungbure 7, Slade 6, Jackson 6 (Eminoglu, 40, 7), STERLING-JAMES 8, Sammons 7, Headley 7, Youngs 8, Hylton 7. Unused subs: Bridgewater, Oliver, McDonald, Catlow.

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