EARLSWOOD TOWN 3 SOUTHAM UNITED 0
Southam United got back to Athium Midland Football Combination action for the first time in over six weeks at Earlswood Town on Tuesday night, but put in a below-par performance in what manager Lee Knibbs described as “a bad day at the office”, writes David Hucker.
Despite the gap between Saints and the top teams, Knibbs has not given up hope of challenging for the title, but this defeat, coupled with Walsall Wood’s 4-0 win over Bolehall Swifts that took them into fourth place, was a severe blow.
Earlswood took the lead in the 17th minute after Ollie Manuel failed to hold a sharp shot and then doubled their advantage 60 seconds later as former Coleshill Town striker Danny Carter, signed on the day of the match, cut in and crossed from the right and Sam Wills was on hand to put the ball away.
Saints could have got one back in the 56th minute, but Tom Leaver put his effort wide.
Knibbs introduced Pawel Tomczak and Lee Thomas into the attack to try to rescue the match, but it was Town who had the chances to add to their tally, including hitting the top of the crossbar, before sealing the win with their third goal ten minutes from time.
Keeper Richard Taylor denied Leaver with a good save with four minutes to go, but Saints ended the match well beaten by a much sharper and slicker side.
Knibbs’ team will need to get back to form quickly as the provisional fixture list for the remainder of the season, published this week, shows them playing 21 matches in the nine weeks from March 2 to May 4.
They include a two-legged semi-final against Walsall Wood in the Les James Memorial Challenge Cup and the rearranged derby with Racing Club Warwick on Wednesday April 3.
On Saturday, they are away to second-placed Littleton, looking to avenge the 3-0 home defeat suffered at the start of the season, and follow up with another away trip on Tuesday when they meet Coventry Copsewood in the quarter-final of the Coventry Telegraph Challenge Cup.