RUGBY TOWN: Valley bow out of last cup competition

Birmingham Senior Cup defeat 2-0 at Redditch United

Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 2:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 3:00 pm
Danico Johnson - pictured in September's FA Cup game with Redditch - was Rugby's Star Man on Tuesday evening

Birmingham FA Senior Cup - Round One

Redditch United 2 Rugby Town 0

Two first-half goals ended Rugby’s interest in the regional knockout competition at the first hurdle on the Trico Stadium artificial pitch on Tuesday evening.

Valley were unable to recreate their heroics in the FA Cup at the same venue just over six weeks previously, after a particularly dominant opening 45-minute display by the hosts saw them establish what proved to be an impenetrable advantage.

Town boss Carl Adams made six changes from the weekend’s team at Desborough, with experienced midfield duo Richard Bunting and Justin Marsden both returning from injury.

Loyiso Recci was restored to the line-up after serving a one match suspension, with Charlie Evans and Lewis Rankin also given starts. Trey Brathwaite’s arrival back the club saw him make a season debut at left-back.

The home side was virtually a completely different make-up from the 4-2 cup defeat against Rugby at the start of September, and they started the game at a high tempo - with winger Ahmed Ali a thorn in Brathwaite’s side from the off.

Redditch were ahead after just five minutes when Max Loveridge’s true and straight strike from 30 yards was too good for Matt Hill in the Town goal.

United’s second came after a good spell of football from them - culminating in Valley’s inability to clear a delivery into the box, which ultimately saw Mike Nelson slide the ball home.

Danico Johnson had Town’s best chance of the first half when he steered one into the side netting, but it was a rare moment of opportunity against the superior opposition.

The balance shifted a little after the break as the hosts appeared to take their foot off the gas. However Rugby’s play often lacked incision and hence an end product too.

Johnson looked the most likely to pull one back for the visitors, but home keeper Reece Francis continued to remain relatively untroubled for the remainder of the game.

Shaquille Whittingham - the only Redditch man to start both cup games between the two clubs - went closest to securing a United third before the referee’s whistle concluded the tie.