FOOTBALL: TWO sendings off proved to be Southam United’s downfall at home to Atherstone after they were thumped 8-0 as the search for a first win in the Midland League Division Two stretched to 20 matches, reports Chris Taylor.
With the pitch passed playable following a morning inspection, Southam’s new manager Alex Baird sent out his side with two new signings and three youngsters from the Under 18’s development team in the line up.
It was evident that he had coached his team well, and the players had listened and were carrying out his instructions but it was the visitors who took a seventh minute lead when a slip allowed Danny Harris to cut inside and fire low into the far corner.
Saints kept their shape well and made it difficult for the Adders to create chances even though they had the majority of the possession.
At the other end, Southam had two very presentable chances of their own when first Will Webster Wall was fed though but his shot went wide of the near post and then when Matt Omari broke clear but tamely hit his shot into the grateful arms of McNulty in the visitors’ goal.
All this changed in the 43rd minute with two moments of madness from Southam defender James Keller who up until then had been impressive.
Firstly he scythed down Alan Miller for which he received a yellow card then from the resulting free kick, punched the ball clear when it was heading straight into the keeper’s hands for a second yellow.
Alex Naughton made no mistake from the spot to double Atherstone’s lead and Southam knew they had it all to do in the second period.
The match was effectively over as a contest in the 47th minute when Alan Miller passed to Louie O’Connor whose shot thumped the crossbar and Danny Harris was first to react putting the rebound past Harry Gardiner in the home goal.
Things became even worse for Southam in the 55th minute as Lee Rycroft slid in studs showing on Kyle Turner on the wing and was shown a straight red by referee Tallis following consultation with his assistant.
With only nine players to play against it was no surprise that the Adders took total control.
Ashley Gray ended a fine run with a fierce shot to make up four in the 60th minute before Alex Naughton forced his way through the home defence to score the fifth just two minutes later.
O’Connor scored two fine goals in the 65th and 75th minute and Naughton made it eight 13 minutes from time.
It could have been many more were it not for Harry Gardiner in the Southam goal who made a string of excellent saves including one from Alan Miller where he dived to his left to keep out a fiercely hit drive that was quite unbelievable.