Ben's twin strikes sees Town win boxing day derby at Redditch
Unstoppable Blues take all 3 points with another great team performance and rise to 10th spot in the table
Match report by Kevin Hand , Stats by Rod Abrahams , Photographs by Granty
Redditch United v Stratford Town Tuesday, 27 December 2017 3.00 pm Evo-Stik Southern Premier League at the Trico Stadium.
Redditch 0 Stratford 2 (half time 0-2)
*Now all the youth of England are on fire….
Stratford’s magnificent run of form continued with a convincing 2-0 victory over local rivals Redditch. On a grim, grey Boxing Day there was strong support from Town fans and they were not disappointed.
With the departure of Darren Byfield, the Reds welcomed Tim Harris as their new manager and ex-Town players, Dior Angus and Marcel Simpson started for the home side. Town were short of Andy Gallinagh and in his absence Carl Adams reverted to a flat back four with Liam Francis joining Recci at the heart of the defence and Summerfield moving to midfield.
The opening exchanges and half were dominated by Stratford. Francis and Recci were magnificent at the heart of the defence and Grocott was once again running midfield. Aided by Hancocks, Marsden and Summerfield they constantly taunted the Redditch defence giving Stephens acres of space to weave his personal magic.
As early as 3 minutes Fry found Summerfield whose flying volley was just wide. In the space of 2 minutes Marsden turned on the penalty spot and fired over the bar and Stephens shot and saw it clip the top of the Redditch bar with goalkeeper, Ethan Ross, clutching thin air. It was no surprise when on 34 minutes Town took the lead. Fry found Stephen’s in the inside right channel who turned and fired home in one movement.
Redditch found a response from a corner and a goal-bound header was cleared by Fry. Town were quickly back up the other end and when Stephens was upended (not for the first time) he took the free kick himself from all of 30 yards. He fizzed in a fierce, low drive that bounced in front of Ross and on the greasy surface it squeezed into the Redditch net for 2-0 interval lead.
There was a quick response from the Redditch boys at the start of the second half when Spencer Weir- Daley brought out a magnificent save from Town’s Connor diving full length to his left to turn a goal-bound shot away to safety.
Town weathered this brief storm and remained in control for most of the second half. There was still time for a Stephens’ free kick special that had Ross desperately clawing over the bar. On the down side Thomas and Hancocks picked up yellows for unnecessary trips and Taylor conceded two soft yellows, making a red, and departed on 84 minutes to ironic and good-humored banter from the Redditch fans. Taylor, ever the gentleman, responded with good grace.
Town fans showed their appreciation of another fine performance by their team. And it was good to see, and hear, Redditch fans enthusiastically supporting their team’s efforts and that of new manager, Tim Harris.
We now await our New Year’s Day fixture at the Mood Chimp against Banbury which will be another test of Carl’s tight knit determined and talented squad. 10th now in the Southern League Premiership is a fine testimony to a breathtaking first half of the season.
• Now all the youth of England are on fire. King Henry V Act 1 Scene 2
A tribute to Carl’s fine squad of players
Man of the Match: Mike Taylor
• A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. Describes our Man of the Match
The Winter’s Tale Act 4 Scene 3
|Match Stats by Rod Abrahams|
| Stratford|| Redditch|
| 13||Goal Attempts|| 16|
| 6||On Target|| 7|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 1|
| 3||Corners Won|| 4|
| 8||Crosses into Box|| 10|
| 12||Fouls Conceded|| 14|
| 1||Off Side|| 3|
| 3||Yellow Cards|| 2|
| 1||Red Cards|| 0|
| Stratford Yellow Cards – Hancocks, Taylor & Thomas Red Card – Taylor|
|Redditch Yellow Cards – Simpson & Stares|