chesham-and-a-visit-to-warwickshire), so I thought that a re-visit was well overdue.
Several things have changes since my last visit to Southam, not least the re-structuring of the leagues. The game I saw in 2013 was a Midland Combination Premier League clash between The Saints and Studley. Southam now ply their trade in what has become the Midland League Division One. No change in pyramid status, just a different name. The other main change to the club has been on the field. In 2013 they were a comfortable mid-table team but, following a mass exodus of players, the club began to struggle, finishing bottom of the table last season last year. Things have got even worse this term with the club sitting bottom once again without a win all season and a goal difference of -102 having only scored eight times in 21 matches.
Around the ground the only real change that I could see was that the rather quaint covered standing area on the car park side of the ground had been closed, leaving only about half of the ground open to spectators. The quite impressive main stand is still in use though and the clubhouse and tea bar still seems as friendly as I reported in my 2013 blog.
Visitors Littleton came into this game having lost their last three league games but still sitting in ninth spot and only 12 points adrift of third-placed Leicester Road.
It was a cold, misty and increasingly frosty evening as the teams took to the field. Southam in their yellow shirts and blue shorts, Littleton in all red with white socks.
The game got off to an explosive start. A superb jinking run from Littleton winger Sean Brain was ended abruptly and illegally in the Southam box. Penalty!. The winger got up, dusted himself down and smashed the ball high into the Southam net. One minute gone and already 0-1. Not the sort of start required by the home side.
The Saints may be bottom of the league but they certainly didn't respond to going a goal down like a beaten team. As far as I could see, no heads dropped and they gamely fought on. To be fair to Littleton, they rarely looked troubled by Southam but, after such a great start, they did find it more difficult to make an inroads themselves. There was no lack of effort in the challenge from the home side. Maybe sometimes a little too much effort as they gave away an number of free-kicks in what was becoming an increasingly tetchy game. Littleton did manage to break the home defence again in the 20th minute but, this time, Harry Gardiner in the Saints goal, made a good save.
Southam, whilst still not testing the Littleton keeper, were beginning to look slightly more threatening which makes what happened next even more galling for the home team and their long-suffering supporters. Another clash in midfield was followed by some pushing and shoving by both players involved. Unfortunately, it was the Southam player who was the more aggressive, raising his hands high to push his opponent. The referee, by the laws of the game, had little choice but to send the player off. So, 21 games without a win, 1-0 down at home and now reduced to 10 men. The signs were not good for Southam.
Once again though they showed signs of very good team spirit and continued to battle away but were undone five minutes after the red card. Once again it was Brain who went on a good run, this time down the right flank. He drew defenders to him and then squared for the on-rushing Dan Carter to apply a straight-forward finish from inside the 6-yard box. 0-2.
That was how it stayed until the end of the half. HT Southam United 0 Littleton 2.
As in the first half it was Littleton who had the lion's share of the ball. However, to the credit of Southam, it was very hard to tell that they were a player short. Yes, they were on the back foot for a lot of the time, yes, Littleton maybe should have scored, but the work-rate of the home side really couldn't be questioned in my opinion.
When the second-half breakthrough did happen it was a route one effort. A long ball over the the Southam defence allowed Carter to beat the offside trap. Although the Southam defence got back enough to slow his advance he was able to curl a beautiful effort from the right-side of the box, past the outstretched hand of Gardiner and into the far corner. It was a fine effort, well deserving of a goal. 0-3.
When, two minutes later, a right-wing cross initially miskicked by a Littleton player fell to Matt Fusco who fired high into the roof of the net to make it 0-4, it looked as if the floodgates may open for the last 20 minutes.
However, whether The Ton Boys took their foot off the gas or Southam turned up the determination levels, the expected goals did not come. Once again, Littleton made chances and probably should have had at least two more, but Southam defended resolutely to the final whistle.
FT Southam United 0 Littleton 4.
In all honesty a comfortable three points for Littleton, which moves them up to eighth spot. Southam remain rooted to the bottom, win-less and with just three points. As a neutral I would dearly love to see them get a win before the season is over. I was very impressed with their effort. There is no doubt, and their league statistics show this, that they lack the quality of other teams in the league but they do have an extraordinary team spirit for a team that is getting beaten quite heavily week in, week out. Good luck to them, I say.
Southam United - @southamunitedfc
Littleton - @thetonboys