Southam United knocked out of cup at semi-final stage

Echoes of 'You can't always get what you want' may have reverberated through Southam minds as on Wednesday as Southam got less than their magnificent showing deserved at the end of a pulsating Coventry Charity Cup semi-final at Coventry Sphinx.
Southam United suffered a heart-breaking cup exitSoutham United suffered a heart-breaking cup exit
Southam United suffered a heart-breaking cup exit

On a drizzly March evening, despite putting in a herculean performance against their Midland League Division 2 opponents, the Saints will feel hard done by to have found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-2 reversal against Hampton in a well-attended match that will live long in the memory.

The Warwickshire side arrived at the Sphinx in confident mood, coming off the back of an excellent 4-0 away win at FC Bristol in the league.

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Such confidence was evident as early as the second minute when George Price sent a looping cross-come-shot sailing narrowly over.

It was in the seventh minute that the early pressure told when Josh Dixon opened the scoring.

Hampton levelled in the 35th minute when Lewis Hudson gave away a penalty which was converted.

The goalkeeper was in the spotlight once again just five minutes later when a Hampton free kick from the right side of midfield was sent into the mixer, Hudson opting to punch the delivery back out into the crowd. It was easy pickings for the Hampton man, who found himself with the ball at his feet in space and made no mistake, sending the Solihull outfit in for the break with a 2-1 advantage.

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Southam started the second half in a similar manner to the first, good work by the irrepressible Price at fullback again turning over possession for his side and lashing an effort goalwards that had the Hampton keeper scrambling to turn around the post.

It wasn't until the sixty-seventh minute that the Southam pressure told, Shane Osbourne popping up in the box to get on the end of a smart delivery from Craig Watkin and poke home to level the tie. Jacob Bourne showed excellent instincts eight minutes later, making a well-timed last ditch challenge to deny a promising Hampton counter-attack. Further opportunities were spurned by Dixon and Watkins to edge Southam in front. Southam were made to rue their profligacy shortly thereafter, the opponents proficiency at set-pieces ultimately proving decisive when a right sided corner was sent looping over everyone to be jabbed home at the far post to settle the tie for Hampton.

A late penalty save from Lewis Hudson for Southam was cold comfort for the Warwickshire side, who will feel hard done by not to have taken the match to extra time.

Speaking after the match, manager Lee Petch said: I thought the performance was good enough to win the game, Hampton were very direct from back to front, as well as quick and physical on the second ball. I thought we played some good football and had the lions share of possession, but three isolated incidents cost us; two set pieces and a penalty.

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"Unfortunately, we couldn't quite convert all of our chances and they did - that’s cup football. What I do want to highlight is the fantastic togetherness the lads have shown, and we are working so hard to get things right and play good football. It was great to see so many Southam supporters there last night, the most for any away game and they were fantastic, the management the players and the club really appreciate the support.”

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