Plucky Port’s run goes on

Midweek Visiter - - Sport - BY ALAN JONES

BRAD­FORD PARK AV­ENUE ........... 2 SOUTH­PORT ...................................... 2

IT was a wild af­ter­noon at the Hors­fall Sta­dium, as the rain swirled and the wind howled, but noth­ing can dampen South­port’s out­look at the mo­ment.

At the end of a week dom­i­nated by talk of the Emi­rates FA Cup, this visit to the lead­ers of the Va­narama Na­tional League North and the aw­ful con­di­tions they en­coun­tered pro­vided the ul­ti­mate test of the Sand­grounders’ form and fo­cus.

For them to have emerged with a bat­tling draw against Brad­ford (Park Av­enue), ex­tend­ing their un­beaten run to ten matches, pro­vided some of the clear­est ev­i­dence yet of the progress that con­tin­ues to be made.

Hav­ing taken an early lead through Dean Win­nard, South­port earned a point thanks to a lon­grange strike from Brad Bau­ress, who came up with the cru­cial equaliser for the sec­ond game run­ning fol­low­ing his mem­o­rable ex­ploits at Tran­mere Rovers the pre­vi­ous week­end.

This strike may not earn the same ac­claim as the one voted as the best goal of the sec­ond round, but it was no less im­por­tant.

After mak­ing strides in the FA Cup and FA Tro­phy, this is due to be South­port’s only league game in the space of five weeks, mak­ing it vi­tal that their cur­rent mo­men­tum con­tin­ued.

Although Brad­ford sit top of the ta­ble, there was lit­tle to choose be­tween the teams dur­ing a tight 90 min­utes and both sides had rea­son to be sat­is­fied with a point.

After a week’s rest, South­port then face a run of three matches in five days, and they will be pleased to have ne­go­ti­ated this fix­ture by claim­ing a re­sult with keeps their good form very much in­tact.

The scorer of the im­por­tant equaliser, Bau­ress also pro­vided the as­sist for the vis­i­tors’ first, sup­ply­ing the cor­ner which al­lowed Win­nard to peel away and head Liam Wat­son’s team in front on 13 min­utes.

The lead, how­ever, lasted for five min­utes, Brad­ford lev­el­ling with an­other header from a set-play, as Conor Bran­son found the space to con­vert a free-kick from Lewis Knight.

South­port’s start was good and both teams pro­ceeded to ex­change pe­ri­ods when they were on top, Knight cre­at­ing space down the right be­fore his shot crept past the far post, while Win­nard found him­self in an­other good po­si­tion from a Jor­dan Richards free-kick but he fired the ball over.

The Sand­grounders be­gan the sec­ond half with in­tent, as a shot from David Mor­gan was de­flected over, while Bau­ress drew a save from goal­keeper Steven Drench, whose most im­pres­sive intervention was to pre­vent an own goal from de­fender Danny Lowe.

Brad­ford went ahead on 74 min­utes, Oli John­son break­ing into the area be­fore scor­ing with an an­gled fin­ish.

But again the equaliser was not long in com­ing, Bau­ress find­ing the tar­get from range once more, this time with a low shot from 25 yards which bounced and nes­tled past the reach of goal­keeper Drench.

The clos­est ei­ther team came to a de­ci­sive goal was in stop­page time, as an­other long-dis­tance shot from Mar­cus Wood flew just wide.

Rick Matthews

South­port are now un­beaten in ten matches

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