Southam’s promotion bid falters at the first...and second
SOUTHAM UNITED 0 LITTLETON 3
Saints looked anything but title contenders as they crashed to their second successive Athium Midland Football Combination defeat on Tuesday evening at the hands of newly-promoted Littleton, writes David Hucker.
Manager Luke Fogarty had vowed to make Banbury Road a fortress this season, but his side’s defences were breached after just two minutes when former Saint Ollie Manoochehri hit the post and Joe Lolley put in the rebound.
Littleton looked the more lively team and doubled their lead in the 43rd minute when Manoochehri latched on to Quentin Townsend’s poor defensive header and set up Steve Edghill to slot home from the edge of the box.
Saints’ cause was not helped when Marc Passey was sent off in the second half and they went further behind with two minutes to go as Littleton hit the bar from a free-kick and Manoochehri reacted quickest to fire in unchallenged.
Fogarty was still coming to terms with the defeat 24 hours later, saying: “We let in a soft early goal and, just when we looked like coming back into the match, gave them another just before half-time.
“When you look around the dressing room at the quality of players we have, we are more than capable of turning it on as our pre-season showed.
“But, we just don’t seem to be gelling and need to roll our sleeves up and be hungrier for success.”
On Saturday, Saints had put in a disappointing performance when going down 2-1 to ten-man Bloxwich United.
The visitors could have scored in the first minute when Simeon Smith cut inside the last defender, but Saints’ top scorer from the 2011-12 season put his shot wide.
Saints then went close from a corner before Craig Watkin, making his debut, sent over a good cross that was almost turned in for an own goal.
The visitors went a goal down in the 23rd minute when Alan Wilkes was on hand at the far post to rise above keeper Ollie Manuel and head home.
Four minutes later, Bloxwich were reduced to ten men when Ryan McCallister brought down Martin Thompson from behind to deny the striker a clear shooting opportunity. Smith put the penalty wide and Saints were made to pay when the hosts went two up from a low, right-wing cross in the 32nd minute.
In the second half, Lee Scott cleared off the line after Manuel had strayed from his area to keep the score down, but Saints got back into the match in the 70th minute when keeper James Fryer dropped a long ball from Neil Stacey and Smith put it into the net.
Tomorrow, Saints travel to Dudley Town in the FA Cup extra preliminary round, before entertaining Pilkington XXX in the league on Tuesday evening (7.45pm).
Saints’ youth team continued their pre-season warm-up with a 3-1 win at Ardley United.
After a scrappy start, they found their form in the last half-hour and goals by Cyril Okpoti, Tom Davison and Robbie Stephans saw them to a comfortable win.
They are at home to Woodford United tomorrow and start the season proper on August 20 at home to Earlswood Town, followed by a trip to Nuneaton Griff.
An early season highlight is the FA Youth Cup first qualifying round fixture against Kidderminster Harriers at Banbury Road on September 17.
Saints will be holding FA Tesco Skills sessions for five to 11-year-olds next Monday and Tuesday (13-14 August) at Banbury Road, from 10am to 3pm both days.
The sessions are free and to book places, just call 07802 949781.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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