Home joy at last as City claim 'ugly' win
HOME games for City supporters this season have, in the main, been like being forced to watch the same film time after time.
You know what is going to happen and there is no happy ending.
But at last on Saturday, City managed to rewrite the script, with top scorer Liam Eddy's 71st minute goal giving them what was only their second Calor League premier division win at Treyew Road this season.
And ironically it was not one of City's better performances, as they lifted the gloom following three successive defeats, including that 6-0 midweek mauling at Hungerford Town.
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But City boss Steve Massey was not complaining, as he got the response from his under fire squad with a battling performance which deservedly gave them the three points.
He said: "I am absolutely thrilled to bits.
"I don't think they had a chance, which is particularly pleasing considering the way we have been defending, especially in the last 45 minutes of games.
"I thought everyone gave a real good shift. I have been emphasising to the players the talent they have got, but today I changed tact and told them while they have got all that I want to see you scrap.
"I was looking for the ugly side, closing down, winning tackles and they all worked their socks off.
"Even it if was 0-0 I would have been pleased with the reaction.
"We have all the ability in the world, but there had not been enough emphasis that we have got to grind out results and not play for 45 minutes.
"It was not pretty, but I would take that any time. Who cares? We got three points."
Certainly there was no lack of commitment by a City side showing five changes from the team that started at Hungerford.
The fact that six City players got booked, perhaps illustrates the fact that the home side were determined to get their season back on track.
But the yellow cards for Cody Cooke, Jordan Copp and Les Afful means they face a one match ban if they pick up another booking before the end of the year.
Two of the bookings – for Copp and skipper Paul Kendall – came following a fracas midway through the half which happened right in front of the two dug outs and saw officials from both clubs come on to try and calm the players down.
Two Redditch players were also booked following the unseemly flare up which was sparked by an incident between Eddy and Omar Recci, who had clashed earlier.
Massey, who came on to try and help restore order, said: "Before that clash I told him (Eddy) I don't want to see that. It does not reflect well on the club or the individual. But the guy took revenge with an elbow and then stamped on him.
"I do not mind in that old cliche taking one for the team. But it's the silly ones we have got to cut out."
Massey gave a home debut to keeper Grant Fisher, who has signed from Exmouth and he took his chance with an accomplished display, including a crucial late save to ensure the three points.
And the City boss confirmed Fisher would keep his place for Saturday's trip to Hemel Hempstead Town, even though Ollie Chenoweth, who was working on Saturday, was available.
In other changes, Warren Daw, Shane White, Jordan Copp and Eddy came in for Steve Tully (injured), Jamie Lowry (unwell), Neil Slateford and Jordan Pearce who both dropped to the bench, where they were joined by new signing Dan Green.
The game itself was no classic, especially in a disjointed first half.
A lacklustre first half rarely threatened a goal. Fisher made a smart save to deny from Omari Sterling-Jones, while right on half time Les Afful's cross shot hit the woodwork with Copp blasting the rebound over.
In the second period it was City who took command and the breakthrough finally came after 71 minutes when Arran Pugh nodded Copp's left wing corner back to Eddy who swivelled and fired home from close range for his eighth goal of the season.
It was then a case to see if City could keep their first clean sheet in 32 league games since March – discounting their 1-0 win at Hinckley United in March before the Leicestershire side folded.
The final few minutes were not without the odd alarms none more so than when Fisher produced a terrific flying save to his left to turn away Harvey Headley's drive which seemed destined for the top corner.
Now the question is can City build on the victory and start to move back up the table where they are currently 14th.