By Tony Sollis Wednesday 05 September 2012 Updated: 05/09 15:47
Southam United 5 Castle Vale JKS 2
Midland Combination Premier Division
NEW Saints manager Lee Knibbs got off to the best possible start in his first match in charge, as his side overcame Castle Vale JKS in convincing style to move three places up the table on Saturday.
Knibbs, formerly assistant to Danny McSheffrey at Midland Football Alliance side Coventry Sphinx, introduced Matthew Brown - signed from Stratford Town on the morning of the match - and Pawel Tomczak, on loan from Solihull Moors.
With Quentin Townsend still not fully fit, James Hardie dropped back to the centre of the defence, taking over the captain’s armband.
Vale had a good chance after just two minutes when Nathan Bean hit the target from a half-cleared free kick, but the returning Ollie Manuel was equal to the task, saving low down at his near post.
Saints went ahead in the 13th minute as Manuel took a short goal kick to Craig Watkin, who sent a long ball down the left to Tomczak and the debutant cut inside to beat the keeper with a low shot.
They doubled the lead in the 17th when Tomczak turned provider, laying the ball back to Lee Thomas, whose half volley from 25 yards went in off the far post.
Two more chances came Saints’ way before Vale pulled a goal back from a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, Scott Goodby curling it past Manuel.
The goal noticeably buoyed the visitors who came more into the match and it took a good covering tackle from Hardie to deny them another scoring chance.
A Simeon Smith back-heel set up Brad Rees, but the Saints midfielder delayed his shot, allowing the Vale defence to cover, before Smith himself headed wide.
Thomas increased Saints’ advantage in the 57th minute when his good run and cross from the left saw the ball float over the keeper’s head.
Saints had a penalty appeal turned down when Smith’s shot appeared to be handled, before Thomas completed his hat-trick with another spectacular long range effort to make it 4-1.
It should have been five when Tomczak was brought down in box, but Watkin, who has been unerring from the spot this season, smashed his penalty over the bar.
Vale made Saints pay when scoring from the spot in the 78th with Roy Dunkley pouncing on the loose ball after Manuel saved his initial strike.
Youth team striker Robbie Stephans completed the scoring when bagging his first senior goal in the last minute.
On Saturday Saints will be looking for three more points at home to Pelsall Villa.
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