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Match Preview :- Redditch United - Saturday April 22nd, 2006 (15:00:00)
Saturday sees the arrival of relegation threatened Redditch United. Redditch are currently twentieth in the table, thirteen places and twenty-four points behind Celtic, having played a game more. Only goal-difference separates them from Leigh RMI, and the relegation spots, so they will be playing for Conference North survival, whilst Celtic will be playing for a play-off spot.

Last Monday?s visitors, Hednesford Town, will have a big say in the play-off race this week, facing Droylsden and Harrogate Town. Hednesford are not mathematically down yet, and if they win those two matches, and Celtic win on Saturday, both teams will benefit. It?s a big ?if?, so Celtic need to take care of their own results first.

Redditch have yet to beat Celtic, losing in the last four encounters, three league and one Trophy match. Redditch?s last visit to Bower Fold saw Celtic win 1-0, though a bigger score margin is needed if Celtic are to catch Droylsden?s goal-difference. The automated prediction algorithm is also going for a one goal advantage to Celtic, but predicting 3-2 this time.

Redditch have not won a game in eight attempts, and have not won away from home since they beat Vauxhall Motors 2-1 in their third game of the season back in August. They have taken some big scalps at home though, beating Droylsden, Kettering and Nuneaton. The Nuneaton match was their first clean sheet of the season, in January, ending a twenty-four consecutive league match conceding streak that remains the longest in the league. Their last clean sheet was a 1-0 win at home to Alfreton at the end of February. They have failed to score in seven matches this season (three at home), and have conceded in every away match. They have conceded four or more goals in five matches this season, including a 5-1 loss away at Northwich, and a 6-3 loss at home to Workington.

They have managed to score in each of their last five matches, meaning that they have scored five and conceded seven. Away from home only, they have scored five and conceded ten in their last five matches. On average away from home, United score 1.1 goals per game (1.2 overall) and concede two goals per game (1.8 overall). Their top scorer this season has been Simon Hollis, whose goal against Northwich in their recent 2-1 defeat was his eighth of the campaign. Most of Redditch?s scoring is done in the first twenty-five minutes when twenty-one of their fifty goals scored this season have gone in. During the same period, they have conceded twenty-one of their conceded seventy-two goals.

Redditch have picked up several yellow cards in the past two games, but it doesn?t look to have created any suspensions for them, so they should be coming into the game with a full squad to chose from. In their last match, the 2-1 home defeat to Northwich Victoria, United lined up as:
1. Richard Antiss
2. Ian King
3. Damien Whitcombe
4. Paul Bonnar
5. Mark Creighton
6. Mark Taylor
7. Richard Field
8. Richard Adams
9. Simon Hollis
10. Carl Palmer
11. Rory May

In Celtic?s last match, the 3-0 win over Hednesford Town, we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mark Barnard
5. Barrie Keeling
6. Paul Sykes
7. Steve Garvey
8. Kevin Parr
9. Lee Ellington
10. Jody Banim
11. Neil Prince

Celtic need to better the Hednesford result to close the gap on Droylsden. Considering that Droylsden are away at Hednesford when we play Redditch, we need to score more goals than they do, or hope that Hednesford can pull off an unlikely miracle result and win. The season goes into mathematical permutation mode for us now, but the one thing we have to do is win, even if we do not reduce the goal difference, anything other than a win will not help our ambitions. We are the more in form team, but that was true when Worcester visited, and we cannot afford another slip-up.
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