FOOTBALL: MANAGER Alex Baird saw his Southam side get thumped 7-0 against Stafford on the artificial surface at Evans Park and felt compelled to apologise to opposite number for his side’s inability to make the game any sort of contest.
Two late withdrawals had disrupted Southam on Saturday but there were no excuses by Baird whose side remain rooted at the bottom of the Midland League Division One with just three points to show from 26 matches.
After just 90 seconds, Jack Hepple smashed a shot against the visitors’ crossbar with Harry Gardiner beaten but Stafford took the lead after four minutes when Ryan Pace’s corner was missed by the defence and unmarked Hepple had a simple finish from close range.
Gardiner kept out Matt Redshaw’s header and Hepple headed over the bar as the home side dominated proceedings early on.
Gardiner denied Dan Jones after he ran clear of the visitors’ defence and Redshaw shot wide from the resultant corner.
Stafford did eventually double their lead in the 23rd minute when Harry Bowers’ cross was met by Jones, who turned the ball into the path of Hepple, and he finished past Gardiner.
Southam suffered their only bit of true misfortune three minutes later when a through ball found a clearly offside Jones, who ran on before squaring to Hepple to complete his hat-trick with a cool finish.
On the half-hour, Gardiner cleared the ball and Bowers – spotting the keeper off his line – tried a shot from 40 yards which rebounded off the crossbar.
A passing move between Jones and Hepple led to Bowers scoring in the 37th minute before Hepple had another chance saved six minutes before half-time.
Five minutes into the second half, Southam won a corner and Joe Fisher’s header was saved by Ben James.
Gardiner did well to keep out a shot from Pace before on the hour mark Jones smashed the ball against the crossbar as Stafford hit the woodwork for the third time.
A minute later Stafford won a penalty for a trip in the area and Pace sent Gardiner the wrong way from the spot to make it 5-0.
With 11 minutes to go, Jez Redler scored goal number six, and a minute later, Pace rounded off the scoring with a chip into the far corner of the net for his ninth of the season.