REDDITCH boosted their West Midlands Premier Division promotion hopes with a hard-fought 2-1 home win over bottom side Bridgnorth 2nds which lifted the Kingfishers back into second place.
With four matches remaining, Redditch have a one-point advantage over third-placed Barford Tigers 2nds after the latter were held to a 3-3 home draw by Edgbaston 2nds on Saturday.
Redditch, who visit Edgbaston 2nds on Saturday, were keen to make amends following their disappointing defeat to Lichfield 3rds but they were pushed all the way by a Bridgnorth team without a league win to their name this season.
Redditch went into the game with an attacking formation but were unable to play with the same flair and intensity as other games during the season.
The Kingfishers were, however, on top of the game and their opponents did little to worry them in the opening exchanges.
Mike Slater scored his third goal of the season midway through the first half with a well-executed deflection to put the hosts ahead, but stern words from coach Wayne Beard called for the team to up the intensity.
Adam Haslam almost got on the end of a cross-field ball to make it 2-0 and Slater also went close again before the break but Redditch laboured through to half-time with a slender 1-0 lead.
The second half did not see much improvement from the hosts with several opportunities either drifting wide or breaking down in the build-up.
Pete Dawson and Harry Williams both had shots saved by the goalkeeper and at the other end Bridgnorth’s direct style of play gave defenders Adrian Young, Luke Baker and Andy Billingham something to think about on several occasions.
Redditch got the much-needed second goal through some brilliant individual skill from top goalscorer Jacob Beard who beat a couple of defenders as he drove into the D before firing a shot past the keeper.
In the final minute Bridgnorth scored a consolation goal but it was too late to change the outcome.
Redditch 3rds hosted Bromsgrove on Saturday looking to close a seven-point gap between the two clubs.
A strong performance by all and three well-worked goals from Harrison Young, Ben McFarland and Wayne Beard gave Redditch a 3-1 win against their local rivals and the Kingfishers will now look to reduce the gap to just a point this weekend against Droitwich