initial signs were not good, the new kit included some decidedly
unflattering white socks and Redditch were looking far too quick for
our defence. In the opening minutes we were sliced apart down the
right and were lucky to see the shot go over. That turned out to be
only a short reprieve as minutes later another attack came down the
left and this time the cross was lashed in from near the penalty spot
by Martin Myers.
City recovered some composure although Redditch had chances to add a
second in the first period, with Hines needing to be alert to the
crosses coming over. As the match settled down City managed to push
forward a little, with Cox's pace once again our main weapon. He
almost latched onto a good Marshall pass, and Parnell had chances from
both a 20 yard drive and a header at a corner.
The first half definitely
belonged to Redditch though and they should have made their dominance count
further. City had to face a string of corners without Hines being forced to make
a proper save. The pressure did give Dicks chance to make a crucial saving
tackle down the left wing and also for Griffiths to impress by his bustling work
rate at right back.
The second half was a lively scrap, starting almost from kick-off when another
deep cross was this time met well by a Redditch header. Hines was nowhere but
was saved by Griff scraping the ball off the line. The match then really caught
fire when Marshall went in for a loose ball and caught the Redditch keeper very
heavily. Marshall may have been fortunate to escape with a booking, but the
Redditch keeper Murphy was carried off after lengthy treatment on the pitch. He
was replaced in goal by one of the Redditch defenders who almost conceded
immediately when Griff smashed a volley only an inch above the bar.
Fleetingly the home team were
unsure of themselves and their sub was booked for a late challenge which marked
his first contribution to the game. The free kick was fluffed by the stand-in
keeper, but he managed to eventually hold on to Griff's follow up shot.
However the loss of their keeper had made Redditch thirsty for revenge which
they took in upsettingly fine style. The impressive Matt Hall picked up a loose
ball and ran at Dicks, comfortably beating him for pace before smashing the ball
low past Hines. The celebrations were understandable, although why one of
Redditch's subbed players quite felt the need to wave his arse at the City fans
remains a source of mystery.
City then became a victim of another weak refereeing decision. Debutant sub
Billy Davis had only had a few brief touches of the ball before Redditch's sub,
Scott Darrock, left him prone with a high late challenge. Having already been
booked minutes earlier the ref had no option but to book Darrock again and
dismiss him - but somehow he bottled it, leaving Davis to be carried off and
replaced by Tommy Callinan. A less timid ref would have been by now officiating
a ten-a-side match.
City did manage to show some
fight and put Redditch under a little pressure. Chennas grabbed a goal back with
a low drive from fifteen yards after Redditch failed to clear Cox's cross from
the right. However that put a somewhat flattering look to the score line as City
were well beaten by a team that themselves did not look anything special. Tommy
Callinan will have been particularly worried by a lack of strength in midfield
with Tucks especially out of sorts and giving away possession too often. On the
bright side for City fans at least we back in our proper colours, and rumour has
it the next match may even be at home...