A chance spurned to claim vital win
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.
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.