Hellenic League, Division Two North
Southam United 7-0 Woodstock Town
Report by David Hucker
SOUTHAM United notched their 13th victory in a row to keep their title challenge on track, as third-placed Woodstock Town became the latest team to be brushed aside in the only Hellenic League Division Two North match to beat the weather.
Manager Richard Kay’s decision to switch the match to the Southam College all-weather pitch paid dividends, although it took until five minutes before the break for Saints’s leading marksman Levi Steele to open the scoring from the penalty spot and strike partner Ethan Champkins doubled the advantage right on half-time.
Woodstock had twice come from behind to snatch a draw against Buckingham Athletic Development last Tuesday, but there was to be no repeat here as the Saints goal machine hit top gear in the second half.
Goalkeeper Sam Jeffrey had been injured in Woodstock’s midweek match and they also lost his replacement Tom Molloy here, with striker Nathan Emmett having to take over in the second half.
The Saints showed no mercy, however, with Steele adding two more to complete his fourth hat-trick of the season and captain Brandon Smith and substitute Simon Barby also weighing in with a goal apiece, with Champkins getting his second to complete the scoring.
United now lead the table by 12 points from title rivals Adderbury Park, who have two games in hand.
Saturday’s encounter between the two sides will go some way towards deciding the title outcome, although Saints’s destiny will still be in their own hands whatever the result.
“I have been asking the players for a real statement performance and result and Saturday was certainly that,” said Kay.
“Having not played for three weeks, I was unsure what to expect, but we have continued to train hard with excellent numbers at every session.
“Our lack of matches was becoming frustrating, but the three-week break resulted in us being very fresh.
“The tempo, movement and quality of our play was far too much for Woodstock.
“We should have scored more in the first half, but our second-half performance was simply superb.
“Another clean sheet to go with our excellent attacking play resulted in our best performance of the season to date.
“With the form we are in and the football we are playing, we just can’t wait for the next game.
“It’s exciting to think that the squad is very much in its infancy and will only get better.”
SAINTS: Edward Cox, Curtis Green, Ben Tennant, Ashley Knights, Brandon Smith, Pat O’Brien (Simon Barby 65), Ethan Champkins, Ellis Champkins, Levi Steele, Ricky Barby (Kyle Locklin 75), Chidilim Okolo (Daniel Long 70). Unused subs: Frankie Baigent, Tom Harris.