A chance spurned to claim vi­tal win

Midweek Visiter - - Sport - SOUTH­PORT .......................................... 2 NORTH FER­RIBY UNITED ................. 2 BY ALAN JONES

EVEN in these for­ma­tive stages of his man­age­rial ca­reer, Kevin Davies will have ap­pre­ci­ated the sig­nif­i­cance of this game in the con­text of South­port’s sea­son.

On the back of eight win­less matches, the Sand­grounders took to the field against North Fer­riby United, the bot­tom club in the Vanarama Na­tional League North, in a del­i­cate po­si­tion, sit­ting five points above the rel­e­ga­tion places and five adrift of the play-offs.

So for South­port to have missed the chance to reg­is­ter a much-needed win af­ter squan­der­ing the lead they took in the early part of the sec­ond half will have come as a bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment for Davies on an af­ter­noon when his team flat­tered to de­ceive.

As the match pro­gressed, the Sand­grounders con­trolled the play and cre­ated a num­ber of chances, some of them gilt-edged, but they came up short when it mat­tered.

For Davies, this was a third draw from as many matches since tak­ing charge and he ac­knowl­edged that it was an op­por­tu­nity missed.

Al­though the Sand­grounders saw enough pos­ses­sion in the early stages of the en­counter, it was not un­til they fell be­hind on 30 min­utes that they be­gan to ex­ert some author­ity.

Hav­ing signed in the week, Josh Hine was de­ployed as a lone striker but of­ten looked iso­lated in the first half and only when the match went on did South­port com­mit more play­ers for­ward and suc­ceed in pro­vid­ing their new ad­di­tion with sup­port.

Mark Gray had put the vis­i­tors in front, con­vert­ing a free-kick from Steve Bro­gan af­ter ar­riv­ing in space at the far post.

The Sand­grounders, how­ever, promptly found an equaliser when Steven Schu­macher pushed into the North Fer­riby area and swept home the ball af­ter Nathan Lowe’s cross had been blocked.

Jor­dan Hal­lam, start­ing on the right-wing, im­pressed with good move­ment and nice touches.

In the lead-up to half-time, he led a coun­ter­at­tack with a driv­ing run down the right be­fore de­liv­er­ing a low ball which Brad Jack­son met with a back-heel that went wide.

Six min­utes af­ter the re-start, the same play­ers com­bined to give the home team the lead. This time it was Jack­son who en­gi­neered the open­ing, mak­ing up ground on the left be­fore send­ing in a cross that al­lowed Hal­lam to apply a smart fin­ish.

In­con­sis­tency, though, con­tin­ues to be one of South­port’s prob­lems, as does the lack of re­silience in de­fence. Their lead lasted only nine min­utes as Damelle Bai­ley-King de­liv­ered a cross, Ross Bur­rows drew a save from goal­keeper Mark Hal­stead and Kuda Muskwe net­ted the re­bound.

As they searched for a win­ner, the Sand­grounders cre­ated a glut of chances, two of which re­sulted in glar­ing misses.

Kaiman Anderson again made an im­pact as sub­sti­tute and cre­ated two chances which Dan Cock­er­line should have con­verted, mean­ing South­port’s wait for a win goes on. SOUTH­PORT: (4-1-4-1) Hal­stead, Smith, Dug­dale, Sykes, White, Mor­gan (Mer­rie 61), Hal­lam, Schu­macher, Lowe (Anderson 61), Jack­son, Hine (Cock­er­line 61). Subs (not used): Turner, Jones. NORTH FER­RIBY UNITED: (3-4-1-2) Dur­rant, Cooke, Gray, Pic­ton, Bur­rows, Rus­sell, War­ren, Bro­gan, Bate­son (Rzonca 74), Muskwe, Bai­ley-King. Subs (not used): Fry, Lang­ton. AT­TEN­DANCE: 835 REF­EREE: Steven Copeland (Mersey­side). MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Jor­dan Hal­lam.

Si­mon Mar­shall

Nathan Lowe shoots to­wards the North Fer­riby United goal as South­port go on the at­tack dur­ing last Satur­day’s drawn en­counter at the Merseyrail Com­mu­nity Sta­dium.

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