Southam United 1 Bolehall Swifts 2
A GOAL in added time gave promotion rivals Bolehall Swifts all three points in a fiercely competitive encounter and denied Saints the chance to go top of the Athium Midland Combination Premier Division.
With Swifts needing to win to keep their title hopes alive and Saints looking to go above leaders Continental Star, this was always likely to be a full-blooded affair and so it turned out, with referee Simon Hill the busiest man on the field.
He sent off Bolehall’s Daniel Hales for a second bookable offence and issued six more yellow cards, three to each side.
After Saints had been on top early on, it was Swifts who took the lead in the 15th minute when the home defence failed to clear a corner and captain Michael Swan headed home.
Swifts grew in confidence and were the better side, although lucky not to lose defender Tom Starkey, who escaped with a yellow card after a bad foul on Simeon Smith.
They could have made it two on the stroke of half-time but were denied by the woodwork and Saints went in at the break with a real task on their hands to get something from the match.
The tide turned within minutes of the re-start when Smith, who had left Bolehall in acrimonious circumstances before Christmas, equalised with his 13th goal for the club.
Despite their efforts, Saints struggled to add a second, with substitute Ross Jackson going closest, but putting his shot wide.
Then, in the third minute of added time, a shot from substitute Craig Haywood was deflected by Luke Church past keeper Jim Stott to give Swifts a valuable win.
Home defeats on successive Saturdays to their closest rivals have dealt a serious blow to Saints hopes and they are no longer in control of their own destiny, needing other results to go their way.
They have just one more home match to come, against fellow title contenders Brocton April 21.
This Saturday, Saints are away to Castle Vale JKS who lost 4-2 at Pelsall Villa last weekend.
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