Late goals cost Redditch early FA Cup exit
Two stoppage time goals saw Redditch United succumb to an early FA Cup first qualifying round exit at the hands of giant killers Rugby Town at the Trico Stadium.
Charlie Evans scored twice in the final few minutes to grab a hat-trick for the visitors, who came from behind twice to seal their place into the next round.
Buoyed by Tuesday’s Southern League Cup victory over Rushall Olympic, the Reds welcomed United Counties League side Rugby to the Trico, and went ahead after only seven minutes.
Leam Howards kept up his goal scoring form as he slotted in from close range. The forward found the net after Rugby goalkeeper Matt Hill had pushed Montel Gibson’s low ball into the danger zone into his path.
It was a perfect early goal as Redditch held off their in form visitors in the opening exchanges. However things would change just before the half hour mark when they levelled.
Evans got the first of his three as he headed in a deep cross from the left hand side to draw parity.
All square at the break, the Reds retook the lead on 57 minutes through substitute Nyeko Sinclair, who had been introduced into the back four after the half time interval.
The former Tamworth youngster burst late into the box to meet a dangerous Tom Winters delivery to head the ball in past Hill.
There was still plenty of work left to do in the half hour that lay ahead. Rugby always looked capable of potentially finding an equaliser again and they threatened on a number of occasions.
It looked as though their task would become a lot harder however when ten minutes from the end they were reduced to ten men. Leading front man Danico Johnson was dismissed for a clash with Dan Summerfield to leave the visitors with a man less heading into the final stages.
The game would dramatically swing into their favour though. A couple of minutes later they were level once again.
Simeon Tulloch’s good work on the left saw him put a cross into the Redditch box that found Keenah Rosser and the defender planted an excellent header past Louis Connor to level things up.
The tie was heading for a Tuesday night replay, but the visitors had other ideas.
Substitute Lewis Rankin touched a cross into the path of first half goal scorer Evans and he swept in unmarked in the box to give Rugby the lead for the first time in the afternoon right at the death.
And they would confirm their victory and their place in the next round when they added a fourth in the final seconds.
Richard Blythe kept his composure when breaking into the box and squared the ball for Evans who rolled into an unguarded net to send the travelling supporters into raptures and to leave Redditch down and out.