Southam United 3
Steele 23, Coombes 26, Okolo 38
Hellenic League, Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup
Report by David Hucker
SOUTHAM United got their new season off to the perfect start with a win over Division One East side Langley in the first round of the Hellenic Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup.
Manager Richard Kay kept faith with last year’s squad, with just George Coombes, who had been in good form in pre-season friendlies, introduced into the starting XI.
Playing their first competitive match at Bobby Hancocks Park, Saints went ahead when last season’s leading scorer Levi Steele struck his first of the new campaign in the 23rd minute.
Former Easington Sports striker Coombes doubled the advantage three minutes later and academy graduate Chidilim Okolo made it 3-0 in the 38th.
Langley made sure Saints didn’t run away with the match with Dean Papali pulling a goal back a minute before half-time and then adding his second in the 68th minute to keep the tie alive.
Saints held on, however, with captain Brandon Hallmark outstanding in the defence.
“For our first competitive game, we were back to our best and should have scored more in the first half,” said Kay.
“The goal gave them a lifeline and, instead of killing the game off, we a bit lethargic after the break.
“After their second, it was a backs to the wall at times to the final whistle.”
Saints kick off their Hellenic League Division Two North campaign on Saturday against Risborough Rangers Reserves at Bobby Hancocks Park (3pm).
SAINTS: Edward Cox, Ashley Knights, Caleb Myton, Tom Harris, Brandon Hallmark, Kyle Locklin, Ethan Champkins, Ellis Champkins, Levi Steele, George Coombes, Chidilim Okolo. Used subs: Simon Barby, Curtis Green, Daniel Long. Unused subs: Luca Lenihan