HIGH-FLYING Redditch United suffered rare back-to-back Southern League Premier Division Central defeats this season after going down 1-0 to a wonder goal from hosts Royston Town, writes Jack Underwood.

There were few chances in the first quarter of Saturday's game as Redditch, who had lost 2-0 at home to Mickleover in their previous game on March 2, arguably had the better start but had no efforts on goal.

The first save was forced by Reds forward Alex Cameron after he picked up a loose Royston pass and shot goalwards from outside the box.

Sloppy play from the visitors during the first half saw three Redditch players Gift Mussa, Reece Flanagan and Jordan Cranston all booked for stopping counter-attacks from Royston.

There was nothing to separate the two teams going into half-time in a game lacking in quality.

Cameron came close to putting the Reds in front after defender Matt Fulloway cushioned down a header to the striker and his effort spun just wide.

But Royston went ahead in the 69th minute when Alfie Williams curled in a great effort from outside the box into the top-left corner past keeper Adam Harrison.

The hosts nearly doubled their lead minutes later after James Brighton fired a free-kick narrowly over.

New Redditch signing Zidan Sutherland nearly made an instant impact when he forced a near-post save and then cut the ball back across the six-yard box but it was cleared by the defence.

Morgan Owen’s effort fell just wide late on in the final push for an equaliser.

Royston went down to 10 men when Kian Harness was sent off for an off-the-ball incident in injury-time after the assistant had called the referee over.

But it was not to be for the Reds who were still without manager Matt Clarke as he takes a break for personal reasons.

Redditch, due to visit leaders Needham Market on Tuesday night (7.45pm), host fellow play-off chasers Leamington at the Valley Stadium on Saturday (3pm).

New addition Sutherland, 22, left Dover Athletic after netting five goals in National League South with Lye Town and Bromsgrove Sporting among his previous clubs.

Meanwhile, Alvechurch, due to host AFC Telford United on Tuesday night (7.45pm), claimed a fine 1-0 win at the weekend over West Midlands rivals Stourbridge to go above their opponents in the table.

Jaanai Gordon netted the 49th-minute winning penalty at Lye Meadow in front of 410 fans with Church away at Kettering Town on Saturday (3pm).