Match deleted from records in MaY 2020 after 2019-2020 season voided due to coronavirus


BetVictor Southern Premier League Central

Redditch United

Hednesford Town

Thompson (87)

(0) 0

(0) 1



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Rhys Thompson



St Ives Town (A) 10.3.20

The Pitmen finally ended their run of winless games at relegation-threatened Redditch this afternoon, although they left it late to clinch the points to complete a league double over the Reds with a goal from the outstanding Rhys Thompson

It had been a miserable February for the Pitmen, having lost four games in a row before drawing with Peterborough Sports last time out. The visitors were forced into two changes to the side that had started the exciting 3-3 draw over Sports with Ben O'Hanlon suspended after picking up a late red card and Danny Glover dropping himself to the bench after feeling unwell. Charlie Gatter and Tom Hewlett came back into the side in their places, with Callam Mendez-Jones switching to right-back and Sam Griffiths moving to left-back to cover for the missing O'Hanlon

Redditch's woeful season had seen them lose twenty-six of thirty-two games so far, leaving the Reds rooted to the foot of the league table with a fourteen point gap to safety. Ex-Hednesford striker Duane Darby had been appointed as Redditch's third manager of the season in November but had struggled to turn their fortunes around. They had, however, broken a nineteen match losing streak last time out with a surprise 3-2 win over Nuneaton Borough at the Trico Stadium. Darby was handed a blow ahead of kick-off as the highly-regarded keeper Kieran Boucher was ruled out after pulling up in the warm-up and was replaced by youngster Ryan Pratt. He joined former Hednesford players Rudy Misambo and Romario Martin in Darby's starting line-up as Redditch went in search of back-to-back wins for only the second time this term

On the hard 3G surface, the Pitmen took their time to get to grips with the bounce of the ball in the early stages; the hosts tested the reflexes of Andy Wycherley in the sixth minute, making a regulation catch to claim Randane Larmond's downward header from twelve yards out

Both teams were showing plenty of willing int he opening quarter of the game, but the overall quality was low on both sides, with the clubs essentially resigned to their relative fates at the end of the current season; it took the away side until the fifteenth minute to register a shot in anger as Hewlett was played in on goal by Thompson, only to drag his low shot along the floor and straight into the arms of Pratt

Sweeney wasted the Pitmen's next good opening three minutes later after Taimoor Hussain had brought Sam Griffiths down on the edge of the penalty area, prompting a free kick from former Redditch loanee Sweeney that drifted high and wide of the Redditch goal

Hodge was next to try his luck from a free-kick on twenty-one minutes, curling in a low fire-kick from the right-hand edge of the Reds penalty area that drifted inches wide of Pratt's near post. Close from the mercurial winger

​A quick break from the Pitmen for minutes later saw the ball played into the feet of Hewlett once more, but again the on-loan Burton man failed to find the target with a tame low shot straight into the hands of Pratt after cutting in from the right wing

A rare break from the hosts on twenty-seven minutes saw Martin lay the ball off into the path of Hussain, only for the midfielder to clear the crossbar with a wild effort from twenty yards out

Akeal Rehman also had a sight at goal for the hosts on thirty-eight minutes but saw his low shot from eighteen yards out deflected away from goal by Gatter

With the game drifting towards half-time, Sweeney created room for himself to get a shot away as he twisted and turned inside the Redditch penalty area after Griffiths had played him in, only for the on-loan striker to lift his shot high over the crossbar from a promising position

It had been, in all fairness, an utterly dreadful spectacle of a game for the hardy souls that had turned up to watch, including one of the Pitmen's new owners-to-be who will have been served up another reminder of the task in hand to lift the club going into 2020-2021

The Pitmen started the second period brightly and carved out another good opening for Hewlett on forty-eight minutes as Hodge's low cross eventually found it's way to Hewlett, who skied his shot high over the crossbar from a promising position that eventually turned out to be offside

Former Hednesford and Nuneaton man Martin tried his luck with an ambitious effort from full twenty-five yards out on fifty-two minutes, lifting his shot high over Wycherley's crossbar

Redditch were forced into making a change before the game restarted, as Misambo's game ended prematurely through injury as he was replaced by Charlie Wilson

Sweeney was getting closer to grabbing a goal against his former club as the game unfolded, trying his luck with a free-kick once more on the hour mark that Pratt did brilliantly to tip over the crossbar for a Hednesford corner kick

A moment of opportunism from Hewlett almost saw the youngster score his first goal for the Pitmen three minutes later as he managed to seize upon a bouncing ball and take advantage of some defensive dithering from Redditch, only to fire his low shot narrowly wide of Pratt's right-hand post

Hewlett was taken off on sixty-nine minutes after failing to break the deadlock, despite getting into plenty of promising positions; he was replaced by Glover up front

The introduction of the experienced head of Glover was to prove a masterstroke from the visitors, who looked more threatening as soon as their top scorer entered the fray. He linked up well with Sweeney on seventy-three minutes to set up his strike partner, only for Sweeney to be caught in two minds as to whether he was crossing or shooting from the inside right position and ended up doing neither with any real threat

Redditch were looking to see the point out at this stage of the game, as time-wasting from the home side saw Pratt booked for dwelling on a goal kick for too long to add to booking for Martin and Larmond for petty fouls that stopped the Pitmen from playing the ball out

And yet, they were handed a glorious chance to take the lead with a rare counter-attack on eighty-five minutes as Hussain slipped the ball through to an unmarked Martin just inside the Hednesford penalty area, only for Wycherley to make a match-winning stop with his legs to divert the low shot away from goal

This was to prove decisive in the destination of the points, as the one moment of quality from either team finally opened the scoring with three minutes to go; Glover and Hodge combined in midfield to set the winger away, before a clever reverse pass from Hodge found Thompson running in behind the Redditch defence. Without breaking his stride, Thompson fired across Pratt and into the far corner of the net for his first ever Hednesford goal and what was to prove the winner

Looking to protect their slender lead as the game entered it's final minute, the Pitmen brought on Jed Davies in place of Hodge to give them fresh legs in midfield for the final minutes of the game

It had been an instantly forgettable game from both sides, who both lacked quality or composure in front of goal until the one moment of quality from the visitors handed Thompson his first Hednesford goal. The away side are on their travels once more on Tuesday night as they make a first-ever visit to another struggling side in the form of St Ives Town

Redditch United: Pratt , Kennedy-Williams, Endall, Birch, Misambo (Wilson 52), Rehman, Hussain (Campbell 67), Rankin ©, Martin , Larmond , Traore       Subs Unused: Marusiak, Moyo, Koneth

Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Mendez-Jones , Griffiths, Bailey ©, GatterHallahan, Hodge (Davies 89), Thompson, Sweeney, Hewlett (Glover 69), Abadaki    Subs Unused: Fry, Veiga

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