Constable arrests Saints’ slide on managerial debut

Ben Purser, seen here in action for Racing Club, scored twice for Saints.
Ben Purser, seen here in action for Racing Club, scored twice for Saints.

Southam United’s new player-manager Lee Constable got off to the perfect start as his reshaped team beat Pelsall Villa 3-1 at The Bush Ground, with Ben Purser getting two goals on his debut, writes David Hucker.

“The whole squad were excellent,” said Constable after the match. “At times, it wasn’t pretty which, for the first game together for so many, was no surprise, but we were hard to break down and frustrated Pelsall.”

It could have been different had Villa taken a chance in only the second minute when Constable was robbed in midfield, but the opportunity was wasted with a shot that went well wide. Constable then set up Lee Thomas down the wing, but he was unable to deliver a decent cross.

Saints took the lead in the tenth minute when man-of-the-match Tom O’Callaghan put Thomas through and he fired into the far corner past keeper Dale Faultless.

Purser headed over from a Thomas centre, but he was to make amends in the 24th minute, shooting past Faultless to open his account on his first team debut.

Thomas went on a run past several defenders before crossing to Purser, who again headed over.

Saints had to make a substitution with three minutes of the half remaining when Jack Sidgwick limped off after being fouled to be replaced by Harry Woods.

Constable moved to take Sidgwick’s place at left-back, with Lewis Califano going into central midfield and Woods out to a wide right position.

Saints could have extended their lead early in the second half when a good move started by Tunde Ajibade and Woods saw Purser only just fail to convert a cross from Callum Regan.

They did get a deserved third on the hour when Woods played the ball to Califano, whose powerful shot came back off the post and Purser was on hand to thump in the rebound.

In a rare Villa attack, it took a great save from Tom Cross in the 63rd minute to deny them a goal.

However, they struck just a minute later when a free-kick from the left went over Dexter Purser and, with Cross failing to claim the ball, substitute James Lewis headed in unchallenged.

That was the end of the scoring, with Saints moving up to 11th in the table as a result of the three points.

Constable was full of praise for his midfield trio of Ajibade, O’Callaghan and Thomas, describing them as “outstanding”.

And, with three teenagers in the side, it made for an even more pleasing start for the manager who has promised to give young local talent a chance.

Saints are without a match tomorrow.