Steele bags hat-trick as Saints thrash Woodstock

Southam United notched up their 13th Hellenic League Division Two North victory in a row to keep their title challenge on track, routing third-placed Woodstock Town 7-0, writes David Hucker.

Chidilim Okolo is brought down for Saints’ deadlock-breaking penalty. Pictures: Lou Smith

Boss Richard Kay’s decision to switch the match to the Southam College all-weather pitch paid dividends, although it took until five minutes before the break for Saints’ leading marksman Levi Steele to open the scoring from the spot after Chidilim Okolo had been upended by keeper Tom Molloy.

Strike partner Ethan Champkins doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time before the Saints goal machine hit top gear in the second half.

Molloy was replaced for the second half after picking up an injury in the challenge on Okolo, with striker Nathan Emmett taking over and Saints showed no mercy.

Levi Steele is congratulated on his opener.

Steele added two more to complete his fourth hat-trick of the season and captain Brandon Smith and substitute Simon Barby also weighing in with a goal apiece, with Champkins getting his second of the match to complete the scoring.

Saints now lead the table by 12 points ahead of Saturday’s clash with nearest-challengers Adderbury Park.

“I have been asking the players for a real statement performance and result and it was certainly that,” said a delighted Kay.

“Having not played for three weeks, I was unsure what to expect, but we have continued to train hard with excellent numbers at every session. Our lack of match play was becoming frustrating, but the three-week break resulted in us being very fresh.

Ethan Champkins celebrates his first of the afternoon.

“The tempo, movement and quality of our play was far too much for Woodstock. We should have scored more in the first half but our second-half performance was simply superb. Another clean sheet to go with our excellent attacking play resulted in our best performance of the season to date.

“With the form we are in and the football we are playing, we just can’t wait for the next game.”

Brandon Smith celebrates Saints' fourth.