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Saints beat weather to extend lead

Last Updated: Feb 3, 2014 06:07pm
Southam, Stratford-on-Avon
By David Hucker
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A second half hat-trick from Ryan Isherwood secured all three points for Southam United against FISSC, although the visitors made them work hard for their win.

With the weather putting paid to all the other Stratford Football Alliance first division matches, Saints defeated FISSC 4-2 on the Southam College artifical pitch to extend their lead over Badsey United to eight points.

Playing with the wind behind their backs, FISSC were much the better team in the first half and it was no surprise when Asa Chalk put them ahead in the 26th with a stunning shot that gave keeper Michael Ojeil no chance.

They could have opened the scoring as early as the 9th minute, but Ojeil was down smartly to save from Javo. Richard Foreman also had a good chance, but delayed his shot too long, allowing the defence to clear.

For Saints, Steve Thomas couldn’t get enough power in a header from a Ben Tennant cross and then finished tamely when well placed. Jamie Delahunty was also guilty of poor finishing, as Saints were struggling, looking anything but league leaders.

On the half hour, Ryan Isherwood, who had an outstanding match, set up Thomas, but the striker put his effort wide of the post. Ojeil then blocked a Chalk shot before pushing a long-range strike from Foreman around the post.

Saints hauled themselves back into the match three minutes before half-time when Joe Williams was fouled and keeper Jim Ferris failed to hold Tennant’s free kick. Then, Danny Gordon was unlucky not to put them in front when his header hit the outside of the post.

It was a different story after the break as Saints upped the tempo and, within two minutes, Isherwood made it 2-1 from the penalty spot. Substitute Connor Wilson kept the lead intact when heading off the line before Isherwood increased the advantage in the 65th minute with a shot from the right that Ferris again failed to hold.

The post denied Gordon for a second time and, at the other end, Ojeil made a brilliant save to finger-tip Mark Rigby’s shot onto the bar. Ferris then denied Suki Nijjar, saving his header from close range and, in a goalmouth scramble, Chalk got his second, despite Gordon’s efforts to keep the ball out.

As FISSC pressed for the equaliser, they were caught by a long kick from Ojeil as the ball fell to Thomas and, after a good interchange with Nijjar, it was set up for Isherwood to settle the match in the second minute of added time.

“We were not at our best in the first half, playing at their tempo rather than our own game” said manager Ian Ray.

“After the break, we stepped up a gear, although had a difficult final fifteen minutes as our young heads weren’t able to show the composure we needed as they put the pressure on.”

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