THE SEARCH for a first league win of the 2016/17 Midland League Division One season stretched to seven matches for Southam United after they lost 4-0 at home to Nuneaton Griff.
Following an immaculately observed minute’s silence to mark the recent passing of former player and lifelong supporter Tom Washbrooke, the Saints were unable to perform at anything like the level of recent matches on Saturday.
They found themselves 1-0 down in only the third minute as a half cleared corner on the left found its way to Christopher Tullin who fed Tom Bates to cross low and hard for Matt Brennan to turn in at the far post.
Saints were hampered by another injury to skipper Ben Nicholson who eventually went off before half time but, even before this, the hosts were struggling to cope with the visitors’ pace and movement on a slick surface.
Griff scored again on 16 minutes through Ryan Slinn and then Tom Bates doubled their advantage two minutes later and it was surprising they only took a three-goal lead into the break after dominating the opening 45 minutes.
The hosts made more of a contest of it in the second half, but found themselves down to ten men in the 68th minute when Alex Baird conceded a penalty for a blatant push on Brennan and picked up a second yellow card in the process.
Keeper Nathan Carro produced a tremendous save from the resultant spot kick powerfully taken by substitute John Russell and this inspired his team mates as Saints had a spell on top with Danny Brierley going close with a run and shot just defecting for a corner.
Ryan Millerchip then scored a fourth for Griff in the 76th minute after a couple of initial efforts were blocked but, at least, Saints kept going and in fact came close to scoring themselves as Brennan sliced an attempted clearance from a corner onto his own bar on 82 minutes.
Saints’ next match is away to Atherstone Town on Saturday at Sheepy Road.
Elsewhere, in the first round qualifying of the FA Vase, Ben Mackey scored a first half a hat-trick on his Coventry United debut as Racing Club Warwick lost out 3-1.
Mackey bagged his first in the opening minute with a close range finish and he scored a second on 19 minutes after converting a cross from Mykel Beckley.
Three minutes before the break Mackey completed his hat-trick after heading home Josh O’Grady’s deep cross.
Racing Club did pull a goal back after the break when the hosts were awarded a penalty after Harry Jervis was brought down inside the area and Jamie Smith slotted home the resultant penalty.
But despite their best efforts that proved to be the final goal of the game as Leamington bowed out of the FA Vase at the first hurdle.