IT PROVED to be a disappointing start to the 2016/17 Midland League Division One season for Southam after they slipped to a 3-0 defeat against Bromsgrove on Saturday.
Chris Lloyd broke the deadlock in the 40th minute at the Victoria Ground with a delightful chipped effort over United keeper Thomas Bryce before Ahmed Ali added the second five minutes later after prodding home when Bryce dropped Nathan Walker’s cross from the right.
Tony Clarke completed the rout for Paul Smith’s Rouslers in the 58th minute with a powerful header from Walker’s corner to secure victory against a United side which offered very little up front and failed to create any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.
The opening match between the two sides on the opening day of last season finished 1-1 and this time around Sporting came out the traps fastest. They almost took the lead in the seventh minute but efforts from Clarke and Lloyd were cleared off the line in the space of seconds.
Another goal-line clearance prevented the Rouslers from nosing themselves ahead in the 18th minute as the visitors struggled to cope with Bromsgrove’s attacking threat.
The home supporters became frustrated after twice hitting the woodwork in the space of 11 minutes.
Clarke was the first to rattle the crossbar in the 26th minute after collecting Luke Edwards’ deep pass from the back before smashing the woodwork with a fantastic volley before a solo effort from Lloyd saw the pacey winger hit the post after cutting inside from the left.
However, Sporting’s dominance paid off as Joe Haines played a delightful chipped through ball which sent Lloyd clean through and he provided a deft touch to beat the on-rushing Bryce to give the home side a well-deserved lead.
Five minutes later it was 2-0 when from Walker’s corner from the right, Bryce fumbled the ball which allowed an unmarked Ali to fire home to give the Rouslers a stranglehold on the game.
After the break, Sporting somehow avoided being reduced to ten men in the 46th minute after Edwards, who was clearly the last man, wrestled Matt Omari to the ground 20 yards from goal but referee Steven Hughes only gave the defender a yellow card.
From the resultant free-kick, Daniel Brierley saw his well-driven effort comfortably claimed low down by Chris Jay in the Sporting goal.
Sporting continued to keep United camped in their own half and just before the hour mark Clarke sealed the points for the Rouslers as he nodded home from Walker’s corner.
Despite going 3-0 down, United’s Omari continued to try and force the issue but with a lack of support and the majority of his players still in their own half, there was very little he could do to spark a comeback.
Try as he might, both he and Zuhayb Abdirahman were limited to long-range efforts which failed to trouble Jay.