Redditch United 2 Solihull Moors 1
Birmingham Senior Cup last 16
A STUNNING goal from Jamey Osborne proved enough for Redditch United to set up a Birmingham Senior Cup quarter-final at home to Wolves as they came from behind to see off National North leaders Solihull Moors at the Valley Stadium on Monday, writes Liam Moakes.
Osborne’s sublime 20-yard strike from the left-hand corner of the area flew past former Reds keeper Danny Lewis into the far top corner in the 63rd minute to cap an excellent fightback against the higher ranked visitors.
Moors arrived at the Valley on the back of a shock 6-0 defeat at Harrogate Town on Saturday and boss Marcus Bignot made numerous chances to his line-up, however the visitors’ side was still packed full of players with plenty of National North experience or higher, including former Birmingham City striker Akwasi Asante.
Reds boss Liam McDonald fielded a strong side but did make a couple of changes in forward areas from Saturday’s 2-0 league success at Cambridge City as Luke Shearer and Jamie Molyneux were given starts in place of Jazz Luckie and Rob Thompson-Brown, who were on the bench.
Shearer took full advantage of his opportunity as his pace and trickery proved a constant headache for Moors, but the night did not go so well for Molyneux, who was replaced by Thompson-Brown after pulling up with a hamstring injury shortly into the second half which will rule him out of action for at least a couple of weeks.
The opening quarter was a fairly tame affair but the encounter sprung into life midway through the first half when a poor goal kick from Lewis was pounced upon by Shearer who crossed from the right, only for Lewis to redeem himself with a point-blank save to keep out George Carline’s close range header.
Shortly afterwards Moors threatened when Asante drove firmly at goal from 18 yards, but home keeper Jose Veiga got behind the strike and gathered the ball safely.
However, Moors did strike in the 24th minute when skipper for the night Gavin Cowan rose to head home into the bottom corner from ten yards out following a cross from the left.
Redditch responded well and should have drawn level five minutes later, but Carline could only head narrowly over the bar at the far post after getting on the end of Osborne’s teasing free kick from the right.
Redditch, who were given a stern talking to at half time by the management, were a different animal after the break as they played with pace and power to constantly put Moors on the back foot.
They deservedly drew level in the 50th minute when Osborne again provided an excellent delivery from a corner on the right and Carline found enough space in the box to neatly tuck the ball into the bottom left corner from close to the penalty spot.
With Shearer having given everything for an hour, McDonald withdrew him and introduced Luckie and the new addition picked up where Shearer had left off with menacing runs and constant harassing of the visiting defence as the Reds continued to boss proceedings.
On 67 minutes Lewis made a fine save from close range to thwart Luckie before three minutes later again keeping Moors in the game with a diving save to deny Osborne’s 22-yard strike and then reacting to smother Luckie’s effort on the rebound.
In the final 15 minutes Moors raised their game as they searched for the equaliser which would have taken the tie to penalties, but the Reds were largely untroubled aside from an 80th minute attack in which James Armson created space on the right and centred for Asante, but Veiga reacted superbly to keep out the striker’s 12-yard strike.
Osborne almost had the final say in the 90th minute when he carried the ball from the right back position up to the edge of the visitors’ area but drove a left-footed strike narrowly wide.