South­port dig in but Manc are too strong

Southport Visiter - - Your Heroes - MANCH­ESTER .................................... 33 SOUTH­PORT.......................................... 0

SOUTH­PORT trav­elled to Manch­ester last week to face a side on a win­ning streak and sit­ting se­cond in the ta­ble.

Al­though South­port won the re­spec­tive fix­ture in a closely con­tested game at Water­loo Road ear­lier in the sea­son, the vis­i­tors knew that they needed to be on their ‘A’ game for this match against a club striv­ing for a re­turn to for­mer glo­ries.

De­spite sev­eral changes due to in­juries, South­port be­gan well, as the in­fa­mous Manch­ester rain fell at the start of the match.

South­port put to­gether sev­eral phases of play, us­ing the for­wards to try and break through, mar­shalled by scrum half Dan Whalen.

How­ever, the Manch­ester de­fence was well or­gan­ised and dis­ci­plined and South­port were con­stantly met with a red and white wall that thwarted ev­ery at­tack.

When Manch­ester did get pos­ses­sion, South­port im­me­di­ately in­fringed at the ruck, re­liev­ing the pres­sure and al­low­ing Manch­ester to take play into South­port ter­ri­tory.

The home side at­tack down the right with the winger only stopped by a last­ditch James Tomkin­son tackle.

But with the de­fence sucked in, deft hands from cen­tre An­thony Ti­aTia put team mate Harry Noar in the gap for the se­cond row to dive over.

An­other penalty set up a se­cond try min­utes later, when Manch­ester chose to kick to the cor­ner.

Manch­ester’s for­wards took play up to the try line, and when the ball was fed out this time the space was found by flanker Mikey Wil­liams who crashed over.

And Wil­liams added his se­cond and the team’s third on the 30-minute mark when a catch and drive at the li­ne­out saw Manch­ester’s for­wards again threat­en­ing the South­port line, be­fore Wil­liams broke from the back of the maul and found the gap.

With Manch­ester now dom­i­nant, the home side sought the bonus point try be­fore the end of the half and it came cour­tesy of a break through the mid­dle by Ti­aTia who showed a turn of pace and power to elude the de­fence and cross the line.

So, the home side took a com­pre­hen­sive lead into the in­ter­val and left the vis­i­tors with a mam­moth task, as­sess­ing how they might get any foothold on the con­test. Half time: Manch­ester 26

South­port 0 As the sides turned around, the win­ter sun came out and shone brightly.

How­ever, South­port’s task im­me­di­ately looked even more gloomy when af­ter only five min­utes they were re­duced to 14 men af­ter a South­port player was sin binned for a high tackle. Manch­ester made the most of the nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage and added a fifth try, af­ter a long li­ne­out throw found num­ber 8 James Brodie over the back and he can­tered un­chal­lenged across the try line.

With 30 min­utes still to play, South­port were fac­ing a hu­mil­i­at­ing white­wash as the ex­pected floodgates ap­peared about to open.

But to their credit the vis­i­tors dug in and showed spirit, play­ing the ball wide with Char­lie At­tis tak­ing con­trol from 10.

South­port made ground in the cen­tres with Jack Parker break­ing through and re­place­ment Adam Atkin­son un­lucky not to get on end of a pass that would have seen him over.

The for­wards con­tin­ued to toil, with Sam Cross putting in the hard yards all af­ter­noon, how­ever, Manch­ester’s de­fence re­mained res­o­lute and the home side closed out the match with­out their try line be­ing breached.

So al­though the game was pretty much done and dusted by start of the se­cond half, South­port put in an im­proved per­for­mance af­ter the break and need to take this in to next week’s home fix­ture against vis­i­tors Oswestry.

Fi­nal score: Manch­ester 33 South­port 0.

Un­for­tu­nately not a great spec­ta­cle for our un­der 8s to wit­ness but a plea­sure for the Firsts to travel to­gether with them on a Fusco coach, and for to en­joy a game against their Manch­ester coun­ter­parts and the ex­cel­lent hos­pi­tal­ity laid on by the hosts.

Manch­ester Firsts now top the ta­ble and we wish them well for the rest of the sea­son.

An­gus Mathe­son

South­port sec­onds in ac­tion against Bolton

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