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Goalkeeper Lewis Hudson in inspired form as Southam United hold second-placed Kennington Athletic

A SIMON Barby penalty, his sixth of the season, earned Southam United a point at second-placed Kennington Athletic, but it took a first-class performance from keeper Lewis Hudson to keep the home side at bay, writes David Hucker.

Simon Barby scores from the penalty spot. Photo: Rhian Tilley
Simon Barby scores from the penalty spot. Photo: Rhian Tilley

Kennington had the first chance on goal in the fifth minute, but Hudson parried the shot to his right, the first of a number of saves he was to make during the afternoon. Saints could have opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Melvin Mauritson’s cross into the box found leading scorer Jay Lawes, but his header went just over the bar.

A minute later, Ricky Barby’s shot from outside the box caught the home keeper off-guard and was pushed over the crossbar. The ensuing corner also hit the bar, but the ball fell harmlessly and was cleared. Hudson was back in action, saving from a Kennington counter-attack before Southam took the lead in the 38th minute from a Simon Barby penalty after Shane Osborne was brought down in the box.

Hudson saved a free-kick with four minutes of the half remaining and then, in added time, was in action again to keep Saints’ lead intact at the break.

It didn’t take long for the home side to get back in the game, however, Matty Crossan equalising with just six minutes of the second half gone and they could have added another in the 55th, but Hudson smothered another Kennington goalbound header. He was called on again in the 73rd as Saints had to withstand the force of Kennington’s high-scoring attack.

“It was very much about not losing the game,” said manager Richard Kay. “To be 1-0 up and then draw was disappointing but, at the end of the day, it was a decent result against a top side.

“Barring a 15-minute period when we lost control of the game and conceded the goal, we played and managed it well. We are at home for four out of our next five matches and have to back this up with more points.”

Despite the point, Saints slipped to sixth place, although have games in hand which could take them up to second, but unbeaten leaders Bicester Hallions, held to a home draw by Cropredy, are looking odds-on for the title with nine matches remaining.

Saints are at home this coming Saturday when they entertain Eynsham Association (2.30pm kick-off).

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