Redditch United 4 Cambridge City 1
HAT-TRICK striker Jermaine Hylton produced the match-deciding goals but he wasn’t the only hero in Redditch United’s ranks in their demolition of title-chasing Cambridge.
Hylton’s goals - taking his season’s tally to eight - and a goal on his home debut from full-back Ben Birch halted a City side who has chalked up six successive wins prior to Saturday’s clash.
But from No 1 to No 11 every Redditch player contributed to their best league win of the season.
Skipper Leavi Oshungbure led by example in midfield, Nathan Jackson was immense in the heart of defence, full-back Calum Flanagan was unshakeable and keeper Bradley Catlow made a couple of saves at vital times.
Shellshocked Cambridge were left furious at two red cards from ref Paul Hobday for substitute Robbie Burns - within 30 seconds of coming onto the pitch - and James Brighton. The decisions certainly destroyed any momentum they had built in the second half after Adam Marriott’s penalty had halved the deficit to 2-1 four minutes into the second period.
But Liam McDonald’s Reds, having played some great flowing football in the first half, showed plenty of steel to withstand their charge.
Two goals in a two minute spell put the Reds in charge, Hylton racing clear to slot home on 22 minutes and then Birch heading home a corner from Edwin Ahenkorah.
Marriott’s penalty, after Catlow brought down Josh Beech, put Redditch on the back foot but they ended with a flurry with Hylton’s diving header from Omari Sterling-James cross on 84 minutes and then a rasping close-range finish in the last minute.
The scoreline avenged a 4-1 defeat at City earlier in the season and set up the Reds for a real push for the top ten in 2014.
Goals: Redditch - Hylton 22, 84, 90, Birch 24; Cambridge - Marriott pen 49.
REDDITCH: Catlow 7; Birch 6, Mutton 7, Jackson 8 (Caines, 87), Flanagan 7; Ahenkorah 7, Sammons 6, Oshungbure 8, Hylton 9; Youngs 6 (Sterling-James, 80), Headley 7. Subs: Bridgwater, Hornby.
CAMBRIDGE CITY: Barratt; Pepper, Beasant, Chaffey, Brighton; Lewis (Lee, 79), Beech, Prada, Dawkin; Bossman (Burns, 68), Marriott. Subs: de Havilland, Midgley.
Referee: Paul Hobday.