Saints’ struggles continue with defeat at Heath Hayes

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Southam United are now firmly embroiled in a relegation scrap after a 3-0 defeat at Heath Hayes left them second from bottom in Midland League Division One.

On a difficult pitch which had only just passed a morning inspection, Saints again played well for long periods and nearly opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark when a well-worked free-kick opened up the hosts’ defence and Tunde Ajibade, playing in an unaccustomed left-back role, fired just over.

Skipper Tom O’Callaghan went close for Saints before Joseph Pickering hit the outside of a post from a disputed free-kick for the home side.

Heath Hayes took the lead in the 25th minute when the Saints defence was dragged out of position and a low cross was turned in cleverly with the outside of his foot by Joe Hartshorne.

Straight from the restart, good work from Liam Cawley down the left almost set up Adam Miles whose initial effort was half cleared to Paul Goonan who saw his powerful shot deflected wide.

On the stroke of half-time, a hopeful punt down the middle held up on the wind to confuse the Southam defence and Liam Degville ran in to head past Matt Archer and put the hosts two up.

The second half served up more entertainment on a deteriorating pitch with Archer making three good saves in quick succession to keep Southam in the game while at the other end it was a case of what might have been as O’Callaghan, Miles, Cawley and substitute Lewis Califano all went close.

Hayes scored a very late third when Saints were caught upfield and an attempted clearance from Archer hit Dimitri Dunkley and rebounded into the empty net.

Southam are at home to Racing Club Warwick on Monday (3pm) before travelling to Littleton on Saturday January 2 (3pm).