Managerless Saints crash out

Simon Hicks dragged Southam back into their cup clash with Coventry Copsewood.Simon Hicks dragged Southam back into their cup clash with Coventry Copsewood.
Simon Hicks dragged Southam back into their cup clash with Coventry Copsewood.
Despite a spirited display, Southam narrowly lost out in the Coventry Telegraph Challenge Cup semi-final on Tuesday, going down 2-1 to Coventry Copsewood at Allard Way, writes David Hucker.

Copsewood made a number of changes to their starting line-up from the previous Saturday’s league encounter, bringing in experienced keeper Scott Furlong and veteran striker PJ Gordon.

In a scrappy opening period, the first chance fell to Saints in the seventh minute when, following a foul on Ryan Caputo, Martin Hutchcox put the free-kick just over the bar.

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A shot by Danny Gordon was parried by Furlong and the follow-up by Leigh Phillips blocked for a corner which came to nothing.

It was Copsewood who scored first when, in the 29th minute, a deep cross from the right from the pacy Danny Fraser was met by the unmarked George Whitlaw at the far post, who headed past Tom Cross from close range.

Saints nearly grabbed an equaliser two minutes before half-time when, from a good build-up, Brad Rees shot just over the bar.

Phillips went close again from the edge of the area just after the restart but Furlong tipped the ball over.

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It could have been two for Copsewood in the 54th minute when a cross from the right went straight through the Saints defence, but Whitlaw missed an easy chance at back post.

Lady Luck smiled on Copsewood a minute later as a corner was cleared off the line, only to hit the back of a Saints player and rebound in for an own goal.

Saints hauled themselves back into the match when Copsewood failed to clear a corner and Simon Hicks blasted the ball through a crowded area and past Furlong.

It was all Saints now with substitute Pawel Tomczak shooting just over and then seeing another effort palmed away by Furlong after being set up by Hutchcox.

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Tomczak again went close before a good move featuring Robbie Stephens and Lee Thomas put Oli Manoochehri in the clear, but Furlong again rescued the home side.

On Saturday, manager Lee Knibbs’ resignation overshadowed a 3-2 win at Copsewood, which secured Saints a league double.

Saints conceded to Nathan McBean inside ten seconds but were all-square in the eighth minute, through captain Martin Hutchcox.

Oli Manoochehri and Robbie Stephens scored fine individual goals to increase the lead before Martin Crawford got a second for Copsewood in the fourth minute of added time.