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Redditch Utd 1 Blues 2

Posted: Tue 11 Sep 2012
Author: Peter Lewis
Akwasi Asante

Akwasi Asante

Image by: Press Association

Akwasi Asante produced a moment of quality to send Blues into the next round of the Birmingham Senior Cup with victory over Redditch United this evening.

The young striker hit the winner midway through the second half with a clinical finish to decide a keenly-contested first round tie at Valley Stadium. Will Packwood had opened the scoring for Richard Beale’s young charges but Mark Danks levelled matters just before the interval before Asante had the final say.   

The only blot on the evening was a late red card for Mitch Hancox but fortunately it didn’t impact on the final result. Blues fielded a mixture of young professionals and scholars with loanee Ben Gordon and third-choice keeper David Lucas also getting a run-out.

The hosts were first to threaten as Danks fired in a shot from the right side of the area that was easily saved by Lucas. But Blues gradually got into their stride and Reece Hales stung the hands of Redditch keeper Niall Cooper with a 20-yard drive before Asante had a close-range shot blocked after good work on the left flank by Hancox.

The visitors’ pressure told on 14 minutes as Beale’s boys took the lead. A corner was cleared only as far as Packwood on the edge of the box, the centre-half showing great technique to unleash a terrific half volley that flew into the bottom left corner of the net.

The non-leaguers were presented with a good opportunity to equalise on the half-hour when Asa Charlton rose unmarked to meet Liam McDonald’s free-kick but the Redditch centre-half headed just wide from ten yards.

But it was Blues that looked the far more potent attacking force during the first period - Callum Reilly twice firing narrowly wide from distance and Packwood sending a shot into the side-netting with the centre-back sensing the chance to add more goals to his personal tally.

Despite their first-half dominance, Blues found themselves going into the break on level terms as the Worcestershire outfit levelled on 44 minutes. Experienced front-man Danks displayed neat footwork to turn Packwood inside the area and then crash in a fizzing shot that Lucas got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.

Within five minutes of the restart Redditch should have turned the game on its head as Danks’ cross-cum-shot reached Craig Wilding at the far post. But the striker got his effort all wrong and the ball bounced tamely into the arms of Lucas from little more than five yards out.

Blues’ first scoring opportunity of the second half came on 63 minutes when Hancox’s low cross reached Asante ten yards out and the young striker attempted an audacious back-heel that was comfortably smothered by Cooper.

The Holland-born forward may have tried to be a little too clever on that occasion but he made the most of his next chance to put his side back in front on 69 minutes. The young striker, who turned 20 last week, collected a pass from Hancox on the edge of the area and got the ball out of his feet instantly before curling in a fierce shot that beat the keeper all ends up.

However Redditch could have restored parity almost immediately, Williams Richards’ header arrowed towards the bottom corner but Lucas showed great reflexes to leap down to his left and turn the ball away to safety.

Blues finished the game with ten men after Hancox was dismissed for a foot-up challenge on Richards that floored the Redditch midfielder with two minutes remaining. But the visitors saw out the tie to progress to the second round of the competition with first-team manager Lee Clark and his staff watching on from the stands.

Redditch: Niall Cooper, Aaron Stringfellow, Joshua Quaynor, David Bridgewater, Asa Charlton, Connor Deards, William Richards, Jack Cresswell, Mark Danks, Craig Wilding, Liam McDonald.

Goal: Danks (44)

Sent off: Hancox (88)

Blues: David Lucas, Ryan Higgins (Nathaniel Kelly 25), Ben Gordon, Reece Brown (Liam Truslove 79), Will Packwood, Jack Deaman, Josh Hawker, Callum Reilly, Akwasi Asante, Reece Hales (Deqwon Ebanks 66), Mitch Hancox. 

Goals: Packwood (14), Asante (67)