It’s getting to that point in the year where games are starting to succumb to the elements, and the flurry of snow on Saturday morning made me slightly nervous that I would get to my game. The away side are just a few places above the relegation zone, whereas Redditch are safely in mid table and looking to push towards the promotion places.
The TRICO Stadium is only a short walk from Redditch train station but then at the bottom of a hill, so for those not a fan of walking it may be worth taking advantage of the match day parking! Three spacious stands surround the 3G surface and offer different heights and angles that the game can be watched from, and I had a great view of the action from a fair few of them. The atmosphere was a very friendly and communal one with plenty of fans of all ages and a few of the youth teams in attendance, and given the weather quite a lot of fans surrounded both the bar and the hatch serving tea and coffee.
In what seems to be a trend at games I attend there was a goal in the first five minutes and it came for the home side. An away corner was cleared and Ashley Sammons was allowed to break across the halfway line and play Dior Angus in as he ran towards the box, and his shot from the corner flew across the goal and into the net. An excellent finish and the home side were in front.
Angus continued to be a threat as the home side dominated the first quarter of an hour, as a ball was lobbed over into his path as he broke into the box, but this time his shot across the face of the goal sailed wide. Bishop’s Stortford only had one chance in the first twenty minutes, as Afolabi Akinyemi picked up a throw in but his attempt to play the ball across the goal was collected and cleared.
Just after the half hour Redditch’s Sammons again got hold of the ball and fired a cross in and Pendley was left unmarked for a free header, but it was well collected by the away goalkeeper Tyler McCarthy. A couple of minutes later Redditch broke again, and Thanoj got a shot off from just outside the D. McCarthy caught it but then lost the ball, before gratefully jumping on it before it crossed the line to keep Redditch just one goal in front.
Bishop’s Stortford got their equaliser as the first half came to a close, and it was well deserved after a period of constant pressure from the away side. A cross wasn’t properly cleared and Akinyemi, stood on the edge of the box, got off a shot through a crowd of people and the ball ended up in the corner of the net. Redditch nearly took the lead again almost immediately, but the shot on the end of a floating free kick went wide.
As the game approached the hour mark a free kick was won by the home side, and only a spectacular save by McCarthy kept Pendley’s header out. The resulting corner came in and the big defender Pendley was not going to he stopped this time, his thumping header found the bottom corner and restored Redditch United’s lead.
Bishop’s Stortford got themselves an equaliser very much against the run of play on seventy two minutes - some neat play on the right wing and a cross came in that was unfortunately turned into his own net by substitute Pauly Apostolopoulos.
Into the last ten minutes the home team pushed for a winner, and thought they had won a penalty as Dunkley went down in the box. The referee did blow his whistle, but then proceeded to point in the other direction and pulled out his yellow card for simulation.
A few minutes later and Redditch won a corner, and after a goalmouth scramble the home team believed the ball had crossed the line before it was bundled out for a corner but the officials did not agree and awarded the corner instead.
With just a couple of minutes to go Redditch won a free kick but Pemdley’s knock down was again cleared away, before Bishop’s Stortford went up the other end and a snap shot was well tipped over by Ethan Ross.
I very much enjoyed my visit to the TRICO Stadium - a very welcoming and friendly atmosphere along with plenty of great vantage points from which to watch the game. I would definitely recommend taking a game in here, though I would also suggest taking a hat and some gloves this time of year - despite the three stands the ground is quite open and can get very cold very quickly!
Redditch United 2-2 Bishop’s Stortford
Redditch United: Ross, Wright (Apostolopoulos 65’), Fox, Mailancol, Simpson, Pendley, Thanoj, Jackman, Angus, Sammons, Monteiro (Dunkley 75’)
Bishop’s Stortford: McCarthy, Casey, Rogers, Simpson, Ekpiteta, Robinson, Foxley, Westcott, Williams, Moncur (Thomas 89’), Akinyemi