No end to woes in league

Midweek Visiter - - Sport - BY ALAN JONES

DE­SPITE progress in the Emi­rates FA Cup, South­port con­tinue to find league re­sults dif­fi­cult to come by.

Seven days af­ter they cel­e­brated se­cur­ing a place in the first round, this turned out to be an­other af­ter­noon to for­get for the Sand­grounders, as their strug­gle for form and con­sis­tency goes on.

Rob­bie Dale scored di­rectly from a cor­ner to con­sign South­port to de­feat against Blyth Spar­tans, and they will know how im­por­tant it is to quickly lift them­selves from the foot of the Va­narama Na­tional League North table.

For Blyth, read a num­ber of home games in re­cent weeks, as the Sand­grounders cre­ated a host of chances in the early stages but failed to cap­i­talise and they were ul­ti­mately made to pay.

South­port’s frus­tra­tions were summed in in the two min­utes which prob­a­bly de­fined this game. Shortly af­ter half-time, Dion Charles found him­self through on goal only to hes­i­tate and al­low goal­keeper Peter Jame­son to make a save.

And no sooner had that chance gone beg­ging than Blyth scored the only goal, Dale float­ing a high cor­ner into the area, with the ball drift­ing to­wards goal and dip­ping un­der the South­port cross­bar.

In many ways, it is typ­i­cal of the way things have gone for South­port in the league this sea­son and they must look to pick them­selves up quickly.

It would have doubt­less been a dif­fer­ent story had the home team taken any of the chances they carved out in the early stages.

This was an im­por­tant game, Blyth be­gin­ning the af­ter­noon three points ahead of Liam Wat­son’s team, and the start from the Sand­grounders was bright.

Charles was thwarted by goal­keeper Jame­son in­side the first minute and that set the tone for much of the first half.

Charles later curled a shot nar­rowly wide from edge of the area af­ter good ap­proach play in­volv­ing Rea­gan Ogle, while David Mor­gan went close from dis­tance and Dean Win­nard was just un­able to con­nect with a free-kick from Jor­dan Richards.

In Blyth’s first foray for­ward, Dan Maguire broke into the Port area be­fore draw­ing a low save from goal­keeper Dan Han­ford, and it served as a re­minder that the home team needed to take a chance.

That mo­ment looked to have ar­rived shortly af­ter the re-start when Charles broke free but South­port were made to pay when Dale’s flag-kick went in on 52 min­utes.

The Sand­grounders tried to vary their at­tack­ing play, in­tro­duc­ing Ja­son Gilchrist and Mor­gan Hom­son-Smith, but still they were un­able to find a way through.

Mar­cus Wood, mak­ing his de­but in cen­tral mid­field af­ter join­ing on loan from Bolton Wan­der­ers, twice had a shot, the sec­ond of which was de­flected wide and from the re­sult­ing cor­ner, Jame­son saved again, this time from Ryan As­tles.

Mor­gan was also de­nied by the Blyth goal­keeper, who clawed away a fine ef­fort from 20 yards, and af­ter two chances at the other end for Maguire, Gilchrist found space in the area in added time only to slide a shot wide, leav­ing South­port to re­flect on an­other frus­trat­ing af­ter­noon. SOUTH­PORT: Han­ford, Richards, Win­nard, As­tles, Ogle, Green (Gilchrist, 57), Mor­gan, Wood, Bau­ress (Hom­son-Smith, 71), Charles, Samp­son. Subs (not used): Tib­betts, Mueller, Lan­g­ley. BLYTH SPAR­TANS: Jame­son, Cunningham, Bud­dle, Wat­son, Lid­dle, Wright­son (Rivers, 67), Oliver, Mullen, Dale, Maguire (Few­ster, 86), Reid (Green, 75). Subs (not used): Wat­son, Skir­pan. AT­TEN­DANCE: 820 REF­EREE: Michael Bar­low (Bolton) MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Ryan As­tles

Lewis Storey

South­port striker Ja­son Gilchrist.

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