January a washout for Saints

The weather continues to wreak havoc with the fixture list, leaving Southam United manager Lee Knibbs wondering when his side will play again, writes David Hucker.

Lee Knibbs Southam side have been twiddling their thumbs during January.
Lee Knibbs Southam side have been twiddling their thumbs during January.

With last Saturday’s match at Pelsall Villa falling victim to a waterlogged pitch and Tuesday’s encounter with Castle Vale JKS at Banbury Road going the same way, Saints have played just one match in the whole of January.

They still have 15 league matches to play, as well as interest in three cup competitions, with the Castle Vale JKS Birmingham County FA Midweek Floodlit Cup quarter-final called off for the second time. The two clubs have yet to agree a date for a third try.

Tomorrow, Saints are due to visit Bolehall Swifts in the Les James Memorial Challenge Cup quarter-final and await the semi-final draw for the Coventry Telegraph Cup in which they were knocked out by Sporting Alvis at the same stage last year.

Despite all the postponements, the situation is not as bad as last season when Saints reached the semi-finals of four cup competitions in addition to having to play catch-up in the league, resulting in their playing 23 matches from the beginning of March until the season-end on May 13.

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The reserves have fared no better, with only the 4-1 league win at FISSC on January 11 and a friendly against a Worcester City XI completed in the month.

Even last Saturday’s friendly against Dunlop Reserves was called off at half-time in the interests of player safety due to the inclement weather.

Ian Ray’s team have time on their side, having played 14 of their 18 Stratford Football Alliance Division One matches.

They lead the table by five points from Badsey United, who have two matches in hand.

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Away defeats to Badsey and Shipston Excelsior have spoilt an otherwise excellent first season in the Alliance, although these were both avenged at home, where Saints boast a 100 per cent record.

Despite missing some of the matches while on first-team duty, Steve Thomas has managed to score nine goals, with Suki Nijjar hot on his heels with seven.

As well as the pre-season Hospital Cup, in which they reached the semi-final, Saints have also progressed in the Nursing Home Cup after beating Tysoe United 2-0.

Ray is, understandably, proud of his side’s record so far this season, saying: “A number of the reserves are maturing into fine players and are knocking on the first-team door already.”