Port full throttle to
SOUTHPORT started off the New Year with a trip along the M57 to face local rivals Widnes, hoping to repeat their victory of earlier in the season.
And after a hard fought contest it was indeed the visitors who secured a deserved win that saw the home side suffer only their second loss of the campaign at Heath Road.
Southport took the lead early on after a powerful scrum put pressure on the home side causing the Widnes scrum half to infringe at the back, allowing Charlie Attis to convert the ensuing penalty.
Minutes later Widnes equalised with a Kevin Leadbetter penalty after ‘Port were penalised for a high tackle right in front of the posts.
However, Southport immediately responded with another Attis kick, this time from long range, after Widnes were penalised at the ruck.
But, Southport were guilty of not clearing their lines from the restart, and although good work from Sam Cross regained pos- session and allowed the visitors to kick out of trouble, Widnes saw the opportunity to attack from deep.
This they did, first attacking down the right flank, and then with the Southport defence scrambling to cover finding Antony Leadbetter wide out on the left for the winger to finish off in the corner.
The Widnes score seemed to motivate the visitors, and Southport soon took their opportunity to respond.
With possession on the halfway line, Southport’s Jack Parker attacked through the middle, and found Attis in sup- port. He went wide and then with a sublime pass inside found Jake Mann who picked an excellent line to gather the ball one handed and get behind the defence and under the posts.
Widnes reduced the Southport lead to two points with another well struck Leadbetter penalty, however with the game very much in the balance Southport struck again.
First Southport’s back made ground, with excellent hands from Tom Peacock picking the ball up off his shoelaces, before the forwards added the hard yards with powerhouse drives from Colin Toohey and Josh Critchley allowing Colin Fearns to dive over the line.
Now Southport were very much in the ascendancy, and with the forwards now dominating both the tight and lose, launched wave after wave of assaults on the Widnes try line.
However, the Widnes defence held out and after a missed Southport penalty kick, made it to the break without any further breaches.
Southport led 11-18 at the break.
So as the teams turned around, it was clear that the first score would be crucial in determining the outcome of the con-
Action from Southport’s clash against Widnes