No end to woes in league
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
Southport striker Jason Gilchrist.