SOUTHAM UNITED go into Saturday’s opening Athium Midland Combination Premier Division match at Bloxwich United in optimistic mood having made it five out of five in their pre-season programme with a 3-2 win at Ardley United on Saturday.
Saints had taken the lead on 25 minutes when Simeon Smith headed home a Craig Watkin corner and had plenty of chances to put the match to bed before Ardley equalised in the 70th minute.
The home side then grabbed the initiative, going into the lead themselves from a powerful header from a cross from left in the 76th minute and could have had a third, but were denied by keeper Matt Oliver.
Saints struck back with Marc Passey heading in a Brad Rees cross from the right with eight minutes to go and then, on 88 minutes, a superb through ball from Michael Clough was latched onto by Passey, who smashed a shot across the keeper into the net.
Luke Fogarty’s side will be looking to go one better than last season when they finished runners-up to Continental Star and, with former Leamington striker Martin Thompson pairing up with leading scorer Simeon Smith, they should have the firepower to mount another challenge at the top.
Smith, who joined the club from Bolehall Swifts in January, scored 22 goals in just 17 appearances. Thompson started in 88 matches for Brakes, plus another 57 appearances as substitute, scoring 34 times.
Fogarty will be mindful of last season’s encounter at Bloxwich when Saints led 3-1 with half an hour to go, but finished up on the wrong end of a 4-3 scoreline, a result that seriously dented their championship hopes.
Saints will be missing midfielder Simon Proctor who is suspended for one match as a result of his sending off at Castle Vale last season, as well as Adam Hart, who has a three-match ban for a red card at his previous club Whitnash Town.
Saints follow up with a home match against newly-promoted Littleton on Tuesday night (7.45pm).
RACING CLUB WARWICK, under new manager Curly O’Callaghan and assistant Tony Clarke, begin their Midland Combination Premier Division campaign by entertaining Pelsall Villa this Saturday (3pm).
The new management team at Hampton Road have drafted in an entire new squad from last season and they completed their preparations by recording a comfortable 3-0 victory over Midland Combination Division Two neighbours Kenilworth Town at the weekend.
Racing follow up their opening league game by making the journey to Pilkington XXX on Wednesday (7.45pm).
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