Southam United 2 Pilkington XXX 0
TWO second half goals from Simeon Smith helped calm the nerves for Saints on Tuesday night and close the gap again on Continental Star at the top of the Athium Midland Combination Premier Division table.
Having won the away fixture 4-1 just over a week ago, Saints were in confident mood, attacking right from the kick-off.
Smith beat the Pilkington offside trap after just two minutes but dragged his shot wide.
Pilkington went close in the 31st minute when, in a defensive mix-up, keeper Matt Oliver failed to collect the ball and Charlie Neale had to clear off the line.
Back came Saints with Neil Stacey flicking the ball on to Jack Taylor whose cross just eluded Smith.
A foul by Scott Thomas on Oliver on the stroke of half-time saw Pilkington reduced to ten men and the teams went in at the break all square.
Four minutes into the second half, Saints had another chance when Taylor set up Ajibade, who put his shot over the bar.
Pilkington were reduced to nine men in the 72nd minute when Marcus King was sent off for deliberately handling on the line, but more drama was to follow as Taylor’s spot kick was saved by Neil Leech and the Saints defender could not put away the rebound.
Saints made their numerical superiority tell just a minute later when Taylor crossed to the far post for Smith to head home.
Leech kept Pilkington in the game with a good save before pushing a long shot from Marc Passey away for a corner.
But, Smith wrapped up the points when converting another Taylor cross two minutes from time.
On Saturday, Saints went down 1-0 to leaders Continental Star in front of the division’s largest crowd of the day.
With both teams looking to put some daylight between themselves and the rest of the title contenders it was a lively encounter and, although Saints had the better of the first half in which they created several good chances, the match was settled by a 66th minute goal from Ricardo Reid.
For the first time since October, the Saints attack, the most potent in the league, failed to find the net.
The deciding goal started with a Saints corner which Star cleared down the right where Marc Passey missed his tackle and, from the pass inside, Reid fired low into bottom right hand corner past Jim Stott.
To add to Saints misery, captain Quentin Townsend was given a straight red card ten minutes from the end for a seemingly harmless collision and will now miss three matches.
Saints play their penultimate home match when Bolehall Swifts are the visitors to Banbury Road on Saturday (3pm).
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