Kyle Copp’s free kick in the 89th minute salvaged a point at 6th place Redditch United where it can be argued that with the first half performance of the Martyrs it was the very least they deserved.
Gavin Williams made a few changes to the team that has played in the last few games with Wright not included in the squad and the back 4 in front of Davies consisted of Davies, Kyle Patten, McDonald and Tancock. Evans, Robbie Patten and Richards were in midfield with Traylor, Morgan and Fleetwood upfront. On the bench were Copp, Bowen and Jenkins along with Harris, having returned to the club after a successful loan spell at Briton Ferry and young Josh Flower from our Development team.
After an impeccably observed minute’s silence in memory of those brave men who fell fighting for their country, Merthyr started the first half well and soon had the home defence under pressure. Traylor got in an early cross which had to be palmed away by Ross in the Redditch goal and the mercurial winger was involved again a few minutes later when he gained the ball on the right and came inside but was robbed by a Redditch defender who tried to pass the ball out but Davies intercepted it and played a one two with Traylor and Davies played it inside to Evans who crossed the ball to Richards on the edge of the D and he had the time to control it and sent a good volley just over the Redditch bar. Merthyr had another period of pressure with Redditch defending deeply and well and a Defender did well to get his head to an Evans cross but could only put it out of play for a corner. Traylor took it and Evans sent a header back across goal which was scrambled behind for another corner, this time on the opposite side. Traylor totted across to take it and this time his kick was headed just wide by K Patten. Redditch did venture up field and gained a corner which went high into the area and was headed down by Jackman but Merthyr cleared it easily.
Davies had a touch of the ball and he sent it long downfield which was allowed to bounce near the Redditch area and Fleetwood lobbed it towards goal but a defender managed to clear it away for a corner and Traylor’s kick found an unmarked Richards outside the area who did well to keep his volley low but was blocked by a defender and it rebounded off Fleetwood and out of play for a goal kick. A few minutes later, Davies found Traylor on the right who got it back to Davies near the by-line who crossed the ball inside to Fleetwood who got it further inside to Traylor who got his foot underneath the ball and put it over the bar from about 7 yards. A few minutes later Ross had to deal with a Morgan cross but the clearance only managed to fall to Tancock who got it back to Morgan near the edge of the Redditch area but Rosser did well to block the cross at the expense of a corner. Traylor’s kick was sent near post and headed back by Fleetwood towards Davies but his shot from outside the area went high and wide. With about 35 minutes gone, Evans broke towards the Redditch area and was fouled about 25 yards out. Richards took the resulting free kick and Richards sent the kick straight into the arms off Ross. A few minutes later, Davies sent a good ball down the right and Traylor got to the edge of the area and crossed it and Richards’s header went just wide of Ross’s goal. Just before half time Redditch did see a bit more of the ball and Angus got in a shot from about 18 yards straight into the arms of Davies and he also had to punch out a long ball from Mailancol and a combination of Davies and Tancock got the ball away. Shortly afterwards the referee, Mr Postin brought the half to an end with the score line 0-0 which rather flattered the home side.
Early in the 2nd half Merthyr gained a free kick which was taken by Morgan towards the head of Tancock but he was flagged for offside. Then Angus was well robbed on the Redditch left by Davies who got it to Evans who sent it across field to Tancock who did well to get it to Morgan on the left who sent it further down to Fleetwood and his cross bounced in the area and Ross got to it before Traylor to prevent him having a shot on goal. Redditch had changed things at half time and were seeing more of the ball and a combination of Davies and Patten cleared a dangerous cross from Fox and a few minutes later, Patten did well to block a shot from a Redditch attacker and away for a corner which was wasted by the home side. Then a ball into the Merthyr area was again blocked by Patten, with Redditch claiming a hand ball and Davies had to do well to dive at the feet of Angus to make a good save. Merthyr created another chance when Richards sent a good cross field ball to Traylor who crossed it into the area and Fleetwood got his foot to it but it came off Pendley back onto Fleetwood’s chest and behind for a goal kick. Merthyr were having to defend a lot more in the second half and when Patten pulled back Apostolopoulos (it had to be!), the resulting free kick taken by Thanoj went just over Davies’s bar. Almost immediately Merthyr made their first substitution of the game with Jenkins replacing Morgan. 3 minutes later, Tancock found Richards in the area and his near post shot was beaten out by Ross and a defender cleared it away at the expense of throw.
After a period of Redditch pressure Merthyr broke forward and Davies got in a good low cross into the area which was cut out by Pendley before it could reach Traylor. Redditch broke forward again and Johnson on the left got it inside to Angus but his shot went high over the Merthyr bar. Merthyr hit back and a combination of Jenkins and Tancock on the left released Traylor inside the Redditch area and he got inside Pendley but his shot was palmed out by Ross and Pendley got it behind for a corner which was headed clear by Pendley but only as far as Richards whose shot was well blocked by that man Pendley again and bounced up towards the halfway line. Richards was again involved when he took a throw on the Merthyr right and he got the ball back and got in a great low cross which went all the way across the area with no Merthyr forward there to get onto it and it went out for a Redditch throw on the left. A minute later Redditch got a free kick on the right which was taken by Jackman who sent in a good cross which was met by the head of Mailancol but his free header went straight into the arms of Davies.
Then with the ball in the centre circle, Evans attempted to send a pass out left towards Tancock but Mr Postin intercepted it and it came off the referee and deflected to Rosser who got the ball forward to Johnson who broke forward and got past McDonald who had slipped and he laid the ball back to Monteiro who sent In a good low shot which flew past Davies’s right hand and into the corner of the Merthyr net and with about 10 minutes left, Redditch were up 1-0. A few minutes later Davies had to palm out a shot from Angus which rebounded to Monteiro but the Redditch attack broke down.
Merthyr then made a double substitution in a quest to get the equaliser with Flower and Copp replacing Robbie Patten and Davies. Patten had a header saved by Ross and with about a minute of normal time left, Merthyr gained a rather soft free kick near the left hand edge of the Redditch area from a Merthyr point of view following what seemed to be a good tackle by Pendley and to add insult to injury, the Redditch defender was shown a yellow card. Copp, who had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes took the kick with his right foot and sent it low into the 6 yard area and it beat everyone including Ross and went into the left hand corner of the Redditch net making the score 1-1. Redditch tried to regain the lead and almost did so when a shot from about 30 yards from Thanoj rattled the Merthyr bar and away to safety.
Probably overall, a draw was a fair result as Merthyr had much the better of the first half but Redditch shaded the second. The referee was heavily involved in both goals with Redditch’s goal coming almost directly from his inadvertent interception of an Evans pass and his awarding the free kick which led to the equaliser. Merthyr now have a couple of weeks off to recharge their batteries and hopefully get a few players fully fit.