Football
Saints start year on a winning note

Wednesday 09 January 2013 Updated: 09/01 15:32

Southam United 3 Blackwood 2

PLAYING their first match for four weeks, Saints came back from two goals down at half-time to overcome Athium Midland Combination Premier Division rivals Blackwood and make a winning start to 2013.

Saints were quickly out of the blocks, with George Curry drawing a good save from visiting keeper Alastair Lewis, but were being caught offside too often by the Blackwood defence

The visitors took the lead in the ninth minute when a throw from the left by Chris Milliard was not cleared and Gareth Evans reacted quickest to beat Ollie Manuel.

It could have been two when Sam Manoochehri sped down the wing to set up Evans who, with Martin Thompson slipping at the critical moment, had a clear shot on goal but fired over.

Saints were being pegged back at this stage, but almost got level when Lewis failed to hold a 17th minute shot from Simeon Smith, only for the ball to be cleared.

Manuel then came outside the box and mis-kicked straight to Manoochehri who shot wide of an open goal from 25 yards.

The lively Smith was brought down but Casey Gaggini thumped his free-kick into the defensive wall, before a good run by Brad Rees set up Chris Murphy whose rising shot flew just over the bar.

With Blackwood looking the slicker side, it took a double save from Manuel to keep Saints in the match.

Gaggini put a free kick wide following a foul on Curry, before Evans doubled the lead for Blackwood from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute.

Saints tried to strike back and, two minutes later, Murphy headed over from a cross by Smith with Lewis stranded but at the other end, Marc Passey made a good saving tackle to deny Blackwood the chance of a third.

Saints were back in the match five minutes into the second half when, from a short corner, Curry crossed to Smith whose header came back off the bar to Josh Cole who drilled in the rebound.

Smith shot just wide soon after, but the scores were level in the 55th minute when Rees charged into the box and scored with the help of the post.

With Saints looking for a third, Smith side footed just wide from close range on the hour and Lewis saved from Cole.

The introduction of the experienced Howard Forinton gave Saints a lift and Smith finally got his goal in the 73rd minute to put them ahead for the first time.

Forinton himself went close with a shot from outside the box and, with four minutes remaining, Cole shot straight at Lewis.

Saints visit Brooklands Jaguar in the Coventry Charity Cup this Saturday before travelling to Bartley Green in the Birmingham County FA Midweek Floodlit Cup on Tuesday.

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