Third-time lucky for Bellingham

Louis Bridges scored Saints' opener in their 2-1 cup win over Dudley Sports.
Louis Bridges scored Saints' opener in their 2-1 cup win over Dudley Sports.

Southam struck back from a goal down on Tuesday night to edge past Dudley Sports and reach the third round of the Birmingham County FA Midweek Floodlit Cup, writes David Hucker.

After near-misses for both sides, Saints thought they had scored in the 17th minute when Mark Bellingham headed across goal for Louis Bridges to tap in, but the referee adjudged the former Leamington striker to have been offside.

Sports almost took the lead three minutes later when a ball from the left was met by Thomas Weston, but Tom Cross just managed to save with his legs. Bridges then headed wide from a free-kick and, frustratingly, Bellingham was again ruled offside when poking home the rebound after keeper Dominic Richards failed to hold another Bridges shot.

The first chance of the second half fell to Lee Thomas who shot just wide.

Shepherd Machingauta then missed for Sports, but they took the lead soon after when captain Craig Tibbetts scored from the penalty spot.

Bridges levelled from a corner in the 74th and Bellingham got his reward four minutes later when Chris Bright turned inside and floated the ball into the box for the Saints striker to glance a header over the keeper.

On Saturday, two second- half goals gave Saints a league double over Pelsall Villa.

Coming into the match. Villa had posted just one victory and conceded 100 goals, including seven against Saints at Banbury Road in September. Only Joe Cornforth survived from the starting line-up that day and they proved tougher opposition this time, forcing Saints to dig deep to take the three points.

Mark Bellingham put an effort wide from a free-kick and Louis Bridges should have added to his goal tally in the 15th minute, but shot straight at the legs of keeper Tom Burns.

Saints could have gone a goal down in the 37th as Lund got in behind central defenders Adam Guest and Myles Jones, but he fired high from a good position.

James Aiton headed over from a corner and, at the other end, Bridges was denied by Burns. The Saints striker then grazed the top of the bar with a header.

Early in the second half, Burns denied Bellingham from a free-kick and Bridges volleyed over the bar from a corner.

But Saints took the lead direct from a corner in the 57th minute as Burns could only help the well-flighted ball from Lee Thomas into the net.

Twelve minutes later, the home defence failed to clear another corner and Bellingham drilled home a shot from the edge of the box to double the advantage.

Tomorrow, Saints host Cadbury Athletic (3pm) looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat at Lye Meadow in October.