Leamington endured a frustrating evening at the New Windmill on Tuesday, with ten-man Redditch producing the perfect away performance to hold out for all three points, writes Paul Okey.
Luke Shearer’s first-half strike allowed Redditch to soak up home pressure and attack on the break and despite losing Kyle Haynes to a straight red five minutes into the second period, the Reds cleverly disrupted the flow, riding their luck in the process, to see out the game.
Jack Edwards fired a ninth minute half-chance past a post while Redditch had a penalty claim waved away after a tumble in the box before the visitors opened the scoring in the 17th minute.
Shearer timed his run to perfection, crossing the half-way line to latch on to George Carline’s pass and advancing unmolested on Tony Breeden’s goal before slipping the ball over the prone keeper and into the net.
It was a classy finish from the striker whose pace was a constant threat to the home backline all evening.
Ross Oulton looked to recreate his stunning goal from three days earlier with a mazy run which took him to the edge of the Redditch box. A last-ditch tackle diverted the ball to Lee Chilton whose stinging drive was palmed behind by Jose Veiga.
With tackles flying in in the middle of the park, James Fry picked up a nasty cut below the eye after a stray boot from Carline that saw the Redditch man receive a yellow card.
Breeden then produced an instinctive reaction save to keep out Carline’s point-blank header from a Shearer cross. Danny Dubidat then put the rebound acrobatically wide.
Leamington received a helping hand, quite literally, in their bid to get back on terms five minutes into the second half.
Chilton caught Veiga after trying to get on the end of a through ball and as the keeper writhed on the floor, Haynes reacted by rushing over and pushing the Brakes midfielder to the ground.
Once order was restored, referee Mark Howes dished out a red card to Haynes, with Chilton receiving a yellow for the initial challenge.
Paul Holleran introduced Will Green in place of Lee Moore as the hosts looked to make use of their man advantage and they very nearly reaped the benefits in the 66th minute after the referee had played a good advantage following a foul on the substitute. However, with the goal gaping, Chilton guided his shot past the far post.
The Redditch fans were celebrating a second after Carline’s cross from the byline was diverted goalwards by Dubidat, but the ball had hit the side netting after going the wrong side of the post.
United substitute Troy Baker then threatened with a run at the heart of the home defence but his shot lacked the pace to trouble Breeden.
With Leamington committing men forward, Shearer almost took advantage, beating Hood to a loose ball in midfield and racing in on goal only to slide his shot across the face.
Richard Taundry, advancing from his unfamilar left-back role, tried to instil some urgency in the home ranks with a long-range shot which fizzed past the post and it had the desired effect as Brakes carved out a number of excellent chances in the final 15 minutes.
A close-range Edwards shot was well blocked and Veiga was then a relieved man to see the ball bounce back into his arms after Will Green’s shot had ricocheted on to the inside on the post.
Veiga was then bravely out to somehow deflect a Mackey away from goal after the forward had latched on to Edwards’ clever knockdown in the six-yard box.
It was the closest Brakes got to getting up a head of steam, with Redditch cleverly taking the sting out of the game with a number of injury-enforced stoppages.
However, there was still time for one final gilt-edged chance for the hosts, with Rob Ogleby picking up a loose ball on the edge of the six-yard box after Chilton’s goalbound far-post header had struck one of his own players. But with Veiga stranded, the striker poked the ball past the far post.
Brakes: Tony Breeden , James Fry, Richard Taundry, Joe Magunda, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Lee Moore (Will Green, 62), Ross Oulton (Rob Ogleby, 76), Ben Mackey, Jack Edwards, Lee Chilton. Subs not used: Jamie Tank, Reece Mitchell, Eddie Caviezel-Cox.
Redditch United: Jose Veiga, Kyle Haynes, Jordan Liburd, Max Loveridge, James Mutton, Callum Flanagan, Luke Shearer, Will Richards, Danny Dubidat (12 Cameron Young, 87), George Carline, Jamie Molyneux (Troy Baker, 57). Subs not used: George McGee, David Bridgwater, Josh Moreton.