Bril­liant Port get sec­ond crack at Rovers

Midweek Visiter - - Sport - BY TOM CAVILLA

THERE were feel­ings of déjà vu within Pren­ton Park as ref­eree An­thony Black­house blew the full-time whis­tle on Sun­day.

In a sim­i­lar vein to the pre­vi­ous round, Tran­mere were held at home to lower-league op­po­si­tion, mean­ing they will have to do things the hard way once more to progress to the next stage of the FA Cup.

Dy­lan Mot­t­ley-Henry en­gi­neered the first op­por­tu­nity as he de­liv­ered an early cross into the box, which was met by Con­nor Jen­nings, who saw his shot de­flect out for a cor­ner.

Mo­ments later, though, and Mot­t­ley-Henry’s af­ter­noon was brought to an abrupt end, as he left the field on a stretcher. The tricky for­ward, who was en­joy­ing a third suc­ces­sive start, ap­peared to pull his ham­string, prompt­ing the sub­sti­tu­tion of Jonny Smith, who came on in his place.

There was then a chance for ei­ther side to take the lead. Firstly, Jay Har­ris made an in­ter­cep­tion on the edge of the box and passed to James Nor­wood, who un­leashed a left-footed ef­fort over the bar. Then for the vis­i­tors, Jack Samp­son laid off for Dion Charles, who also could not keep his ef­fort on tar­get.

It had been a rel­a­tively quiet open­ing to the match; both teams were strug­gling to cre­ate mean­ing­ful chances, but a well-worked move saw Mel­lon’s side find the break­through 17 min­utes in. Liam Ride­halgh sent a long cross­field ball for­ward, which was beau­ti­fully con­trolled by Nor­wood. The Tran­mere tal­is­man then teed-up Smith, who cut in on his left foot and curled home. In­deed, he wasted lit­tle time to make his mark af­ter com­ing on from off the bench.

Har­ris, who ear­lier won back the ball for his side, was dis­pos­sessed him­self, as Marcus Wood caught him off guard on the edge of the box and picked out Charles. Steve McNulty, though, was quick to spot the dan­ger and threw him­self in front of the ball to deny the for­ward.

Micky Mel­lon’s side were begin­ning to pay the price for sloppy play, as 10 min­utes later it was Har­vey Gilmour who lost pos­ses­sion. This time Samp­son was the man to win the ball back as he set up Wood, whose dip­ping ef­fort drifted off tar­get.

As the first half drew to a close, tem­pers be­gan to flare.

An ini­tial al­ter­ca­tion be­tween McNulty and Dean Win­nard – who both re­ceived yel­low cards – sparked a mass brawl in the Rovers’ box, which later saw Jen­nings also is­sued a cau­tion. Push­ing and shov­ing, play­ers be­ing re­strained and ar­gu­ments boil­ing over mo­men­tar­ily took cen­tre stage in the game, as ref­eree Black­house failed to dif­fuse the sit­u­a­tion.

Mat­ters were then made worse when Jor­dan Richards brought down Nor­wood at the other end of the field, who too found him­self booked.

At the start of the sec­ond half, Charles raced through on goal for Liam Wat­son’s side as he con­tin­ued to cause prob­lems for the Rovers rear­guard, though Ride­halgh was on hand to thwart his goal­bound ef­fort.

The Sand­grounders then be­gan to stamp their author­ity on pro­ceed­ings, as they bom­barded the Tran­mere penalty box with a flurry of flag-kicks.

A rare clear-cut chance for the Whites came about when Jen­nings raced through on goal, but he could only hit the side-net­ting.

Then, out of nowhere, Southport found an equaliser.

Un­chal­lenged in mid­field, Bradley Bau­ress let fly from 30 yards out to find the top right cor­ner of the goal 20 min­utes from time. Scott Davies could do noth­ing about this strike.

While the Tran­mere shot-stop­per failed to keep this par­tic­u­lar ef­fort out, he bril­liantly clawed Samp­son’s headed ef­fort off the line mo­ments later to pre­vent the away side from tak­ing the lead.

With 10 min­utes to play, Southport had another chance to snatch a late win when they won a free-kick right on the edge of the area, as Manny Mon­the brought down Mor­gan. Richards let fire, though this was well blocked by the Tran­mere wall.

One glo­ri­ous chance was then fol­lowed up by another, as sub­sti­tute De­varn Green blazed over the bar with the goal gap­ing at his mercy.

Mel­lon’s side hit back late on when Tol­litt picked out Smith, who shot on his weaker right foot and drew a fine save from Dan Han­ford who tipped be­hind for a cor­ner. From this, Mon­the saw his headed ef­fort dra­mat­i­cally cleared off the line to keep the scores level.

In stop­page time, Tol­litt burst into the box, skipped past two men, but took one touch too far and saw the chance go to waste. Jen­nings scup­pered the fi­nal op­por­tu­nity when he un­leashed a shot into The Kop.

The sides will go again in a re­play next week, with the date and time to be con­firmed in due course.

Tony Coombes

Ac­tion from Southport’s well de­served draw against Tran­mere on Sun­day

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