Defeat shows size of task for Yellows
AFTER the improvements made by Southport in recent weeks, this was a clear reminder that there remains plenty of work to do before they turn the corner.
Two goals in the space of eight first-half minutes saw the Sandgrounders slip to defeat at Brackley Town and victory for the home team was all too comfortable.
Having shown signs of progress during a run of one defeat from their previous seven games, the manner of this setback was difficult for the visitors to take.
Defensive lapses cost them both goals and, after creating plenty of chances during their recent games, the 90 minutes passed without Southport being able to make any sort of mark as an attacking force.
Brackley are one of the stronger teams in the Vanarama National League North, contesting the final of last season’s play-offs and lifting the FA Trophy, and manager Liam Watson reflected afterwards that these games highlight precisely where the Sandgrounders need to improve.
As a result, Southport fall to second bottom in the league table and will know that they must quickly start to pick up points again.
It could have been different for the Sandgrounders had David Morgan’s second-minute shot landed a few inches lower instead of scraping the crossbar.
Dion Charles was on hand to turn home the rebound, only to be judged off-side, and that was as good as things would get for the visitors.
Confidence is often delicate for teams in a position similar to that of the Sandgrounders.
Take an early lead and the visitors would no doubt have fancied their chances of extending their improved run, but instead Brackley were allowed to take a hold of the game.
Clear chances were always at a premium, but by the time Ellis Myles scored the opening goal on 24 minutes, the home team were in the ascendancy.
A cross from Matt Lowe had earlier drifted onto the Southport crossbar, before Lee Ndlouv hooked a shot wide from Luke Fairlamb’s low centre, and Myles put Brackley in front, bringing the ball in from the right and curling a left-foot shot into the bottom corner.
Defender Gareth Dean headed wide from a Shane Byrne free-kick as Brackley looked to reinforce their level of control, and James Armson extended the lead shortly after with a sweeping shot from Ndlouv’s low ball into the box.
The Sandgrounders changed shape in the second half, introducing debutant Bouwe Bosma and Mike Phenix shortly after the re-start, and while it brought about an improvement in the performance, the visitors were never likely to find a way back.
Jordan Richards sent a fine cross into the area after good approach work only for Myles to intervene, while David Lynch released Phenix, who cut inside before his shot was blocked.
Southport goalkeeper Dan Hanford saved well after Matt Lowe had worked his way into the area, and the long journey to Northamptonshire is one that the Sandgrounders will want to quickly forget. Brackley Town (4-2-3-1): Lewis, Myles, Dean, Hall, Franklin, Byrne, Walker, Lowe (Nti 88), Armson (Murombezdi 84), Fairlamb, Ndlouv (Jeffers 78). Subs not used: Noon, Staff. Southport (4-4-2): Hanford, Richards, Winnard, Astles, Ogle, Green, Morgan, Lynch, Bauress (Bosma 61), Charles (Gilchrist 87), Sampson (Phenix 66). Subs not used: Mueller, Langley. Attendance: 590 Referee: Dean Watson Man of the match: Ryan Astles
Southport slipped to second bottom after defeat to Brackley