After the euphoria of Saturday’s cup win, Saints were brought back down to earth on Tuesday evening, suffering a 2-1 home defeat to Pershore Town in Midland League Division One , writes David Hucker.
It could have been so different if Chris Bright’s fifth-minute shot had not come back off the bar and shortly after Andrew Yarnold made the first of a number of good saves, denying captain Myles Jones.
The best chance of the half fell to Max Crisp but, with Yarnold beaten, he put his effort just wide and then a long-distance shot from Bright also failed to find the target.
Yarnold again came to Pershore’s rescue making three good saves early in the second half and the visitors capitalised on their good fortune when, in the 52nd minute, a free-kick was headed back across goal and Matthew Mitchell dived to head home.
Pawel Tomczak headed just over from a Lee Thomas crossbefore the visitors wrapped up the match in the 72nd minute with a second goal from a left-wing corner.
Tom Cooper reduced the arrears with six minutes to go, heading in from a Louis Bridges corner and Tomczak went close to earning a share of the spoils near the end.
On Saturday, Saints beat fellow Midland League side Barnt Green Spartak 2-0 to bag the £800 prize and move into the next round of the FA Vase.
In the absence of Matty Hunt, manager Quentin Townend recalled himself to the centre of defence alongside Tom Cooper.
Saints were ahead after just three minutes. Tomczak cut in from the left and produced a shot which Colin Matthews failed to claim, leaving Bridges with the simplest of tap-ins.
A good move in the 11th minute involving Tomczak and Thomas ended with a Bridges effort that went wide and then Jack Brighton went on an excellent run only to be brought down when looking threatening, but the resultant free-kick came to nothing.
Tomczak nearly got a second with two minutes of the half remaining but, with his shot having beaten Matthews, Bridges attempted to make sure, only to touch the ball home from an offside position.
A good turn and run by Tomczak four minutes into the second half deserved a goal, but his shot was just cleared by defender for a corner, from which Josh Smith hit the post and, although Bridges put in the rebound, he was again deemed offside.
Midfielder Jamie Hatfield replaced Townsend, with Myles Jones falling back into defence, before Tomczak saw his header go wide on what was becoming a frustrating afternoon for the Saints frontman.
However, his persistence paid off in the 78th minute when he gave Saints a 2-0 lead.
Brad Rees went close to making three a minute later, only to be denied by the woodwork.
A late rally by Spartak saw Jones almost head into his own goal and then escape sanctions after a tackle which had the visitors appealing in vain for a penalty.
Tomorrow, Saints travel to Studley before another away fixture at high-flying Cadbury Athletic on Wednesday.