Evo-Stik Southern Premier Central
Redditch United 0-1 Stratford Town
Report by Craig Gibbons
LEWIS Wilson struck in the second-half to fire Stratford Town to a battling 1-0 victory over Redditch United at the Trico Stadium.
After a goalless first period, the only goal of the game arrived in the 71st minute when Wilson was on hand to tap home from a couple of yards out.
United’s chances of getting something from the game were all-but ended nine minutes later when Lewis Wright was given his marching orders for a rash challenge on Ross Oulton.
Head of football Thomas Baillie kept with the same starting XI which drew 2-2 with Alvechurch on Tuesday night, but there was one change on the substitutes bench as Will Grocott came in for Felipe Barcelos.
The first-half did not exactly prove to be a spectacle and it took until the 15th minute for the first shot to arrive on target, with Robbie Bunn’s long-range effort deflecting through to Ross Etheridge in the Town goal.
Two minutes later Town did have the ball in the net when Nabil Shariff was on hand to tap home from a couple of yards out from Kynan Isaac’s low cross, but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside.
United came agonisingly close to opening the scoring midway through the first period, but Michael Nelson’s venomous shot from just inside the area cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and away from danger.
Town never really settled into a rhythm as Redditch were dominating much of the possession, but the visitors did have a clear-cut chance of their own just before the break.
However, Albi Skendi could only head wide of the mark from Oulton’s in-swinging delivery following a short corner.
Town started the second period with more impetus, with Skendi having a looping header comfortably saved by Reece Francis before Shariff flashed an angled drive wide moments later.
The lively Nelson then hit the side netting in the 52nd minute with a speculative long-range effort, which some Reds fans thought had gone in.
Ten minutes later a good interchange between Skendi and Shariff allowed the ball to find its way to Oulton but his shot from eight yards out was straight at Francis.
As the rain began to tumble down at the Trico, Town started to see more of the of the ball but could not find that cutting edge in the final third.
However, Town’s pressure was finally rewarded in the 71st minute.
Chris Cox’s long ball was expertly chested down by Oulton, who ran into the box before squaring to Wilson who had the easiest of tap-ins from a couple of yards out to open the scoring.
Redditch’s chances of getting back into the game were made harder with ten minutes to go when Wright was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Oulton.
However, Bunn almost got the hosts back on level terms moments later, but his curling shot was well held on to by Etheridge in the Town goal.
Town almost made the game safe two minutes from time but Francis did well to deny Skendi from inside the area before Carvalho blazed over the rebound from a tight angle.
Up the other end, Danico Johnson almost rescued a point for the Reds but his glancing header was gathered by a grateful Etheridge.
REDDITCH: Reece Francis, Jamie Ashmore, Lewis Wright, Harry Franklin, William Davidson, Rob Evans, Michael Nelson (Jack Downing 70), Robbie Bunn, Danico Johnson, George Washbourne (Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham 63), Richard Batchelor. Subs: Sam Tye, Dave Reynolds, Leam Howards.
TOWN: Ross Etheridge, Chris Cox, Kynan Isaac, James Fry, Jamie McAteer, Jordan Williams, Lewis Wilson, Albi SKendi, Nabill Shariff, Ross Oulton (Daniel Preston), Wilson Carvalho (Kian Williams 88). Subs: Will Grocott, James Behan, Cody Fisher.