Saints close in on leaders

18/01 Updated: 25/01 12:39

Southam United 1 Coventry Copsewood 1

WITH league leaders Bolehall Swifts sitting out the afternoon after their match against Pershore Town was postponed, Saints narrowed the gap at the top of the Athium Midland Combination Premier Division with a hard-fought draw against local rivals Copsewood.

After just one goal decided the first match at Allard Way in November, this was always likely to be a close encounter, but it was the visitors who applied the early pressure.

Copsewood went ahead in the eighth minute when a clearance from Quentin Townsend hit Petajon Gordon on the back and the ball sailed over keeper Jim Stott into an empty net.

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure, although Saints could have made more of a long throw from Neil Stacey that went across the face of an unguarded goal.

On 26 minutes, Jack Taylor sent in a perfect cross to Luke Church, whose overhead kick skimmed the bar with keeper Scott Furlong beaten.

Rickie Cutting then opened up the Saints defence with a smart move and ball in from the left, but the hosts rode out the storm and Andy Millan brought them level from a corner with the last kick of the half.

Copsewood started the second half as they had left off in the first, hitting the bar in the 59th minute, with substitute keeper Matt Oliver saving the follow-up shot.

New signing Simeon Smith made his debut in a double substitution on the hour, but it was man of the match Brad Rees who went closest to giving Saints the lead, chipping over when an earlier strike might have reaped dividends.

Furlong saved from James Hardie, before Copsewood forced a series of corners to threaten the Saints goal.

Then, with just a minute to go, Millan was booked for a push, his second yellow of the afternoon, leaving Saints to play out time with ten men.

This Saturday, Saints visit Nuneaton Griff, whose recent good run of form came to an end with a 2-0 defeat at Bartley Green last Saturday.

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