Port find perfect response in Cup
IN the end, the scoreline should have been more comfortable, but having struggled for wins so far this season, Southport left the Tameside Stadium on Saturday with reason to be pleased with their afternoon’s work.
Two games in the Emirates FA Cup have produced two wins, and although the start to the campaign has been one to forget for the Sandgrounders, they have at least found some respite away from their troubles in the league.
Dion Charles and Jack Sampson scored either side of halftime to book Southport’s passage into yesterday’s draw for the fourth round qualifying and the level of the performance in seeing off Curzon Ashton represented the perfect response to their defeat at Brackley Town the previous weekend.
The Sandgrounders had enjoyed the better of the first half and the opening goal from Charles, scored two minutes into added time before the interval, provided the visitors with the confidence and the platform needed to secure a deserved win.
Southport’s play during the first hour was good, forcing the issue and applying good pressure to the Curzon defence, and their football at the start of the second period, during which Sampson extended the lead, was particularly encouraging.
The target now for the Sandgrounders will be to transfer their results in the cup to muchneeded victories in the Vanarama National League North, and this performance against opposition from the same division should provide the confidence needed to push on.
The opening goal from Charles came just before half-time, taking a through-ball from Brad Bauress in his stride before breaking into the area and, as the angle opened up, he slid a measured finish across goalkeeper Cameron Mason and into the bottom righthand corner.
Southport’s intent from the start had been good, Ryan Astles meeting a corner from Jordan Richards with a header that was stopped on the goalline by Chris Rowney, while Sampson had a shot blocked by Mohamud Ali after linking well with Charles.
Adam Morgan was inside his own half when he tried to loft a shot audaciously into the Southport goal but could only send the ball over the crossbar and the Curzon striker also drew a fine save from goalkeeper Dan Hanford at the end of a neat move involving Mason Fawns and Niall Cummins.
Yet it as the Sandgrounders who were responsible for the more persuasive football and, once in front, they saw out the result with good authority.
The finish from Sampson to increase the visitors’ lead on 58 minutes was classy, receiving a pass from Richards after the fullback had advanced down the right, before guiding a diagonal first-time shot across Ben Purdham, the replacement goalkeeper, with his left foot.
Charles was at the centre of much of Southport’s good play and he continued to cause problems, while David Morgan, Richards and Astles, heading over from a Devarn Green cross, all had chances.
Adam Morgan gave Curzon hope with an excellent curling shot and even though 19 minutes remained at that stage, Southport’s win never seemed in doubt.
Southport midfielder Dion Charles – pictured (right) competing for the ball in the game against Darlington last month – put in a man-of-the-match display as the Sandgrounders defeated Curzon Ashton in the FA Cup last Saturday.