Yellows kick off new year with good point
SOUTHPORT’S impressive National League North form continued on New Year’s Day with a hard earned point at Chester.
Jordan Archer had the best chance for either side, denied one on one by Grant Shenton in the first half, while Chester’s best chance fell late on to Craig Mahon whose goalbound effort deflected clear when it looked to be heading for the net.
Chester were sitting in fifth in the National League North heading into the clash whilst their opponents were on a stunning run that had seen them go unbeaten since October, overcoming their dismal start to the season. It was the fourth time this season that the two sides had done battle owing to their FA Trophy encounter and the Sandgrounders had the upper hand, winning twice and drawing once in the three meetings prior to the New Year’s Day encounter.
The game was an evenly contested affair in the opening 25 minutes.
Devarn Green shot over from 20 yards after cutting in from the left hand side for Southport before a neat move involving Dan Mooney and Anthony Dudley saw a neat ball from the latter just evade the former in the box after a deflection.
On 17 minutes a great whipped leftfooted delivery from Waters just evaded the diving Smalley with the ball eventually finding Mooney in the box but he could only scuff an effort at Dan Hanford from 12 yards.
Three minutes later Waters did well to skip past his man in the box and saw his low cross hammered away off the line by former Chester defender Ryan Astles.
Southport were always looking a threat and Green and Jack Sampson were both finding pockets of space but Simon Grand and Steve Howson were dealing expertly with what came their way, although the full-backs looked vulnerable.
A big chance arrived on 29 minutes when Sampson broke free down the right and sent a low cross in for exChester striker Jordan Archer who, with the goal at his mercy, couldn’t get the all important connection.
Four minutes later and Archer was involved again when Marcus Wood’s ball carved open Chester and set the striker in one on one with Grant Shenton who stood up to the challenge and denied Archer with a great stop from close range.
David Morgan and then Wood both shot over from distance before Chester came on strong in the closing stages of the half.
Chester started the second half with the energy and purpose that had been sorely lacking in their previous two games, using the ball more wisely and Gary Roberts playing a more key role.
It took until the 63rd minute for a meaningful effort goalwards when Waters did well to pick up a loose ball and advance, shooting just over from 25 yards.
Big defender Astles was forced off with an injury on 65 minutes and Southport boss Liam Watson opted to bring on attacker Dion Charles in a bid to add something extra going forward for his side.
Port woke from their second half slumber soon after when Morgan fired a 20 yarder staight at Shenton but the Port were happy to head home with a hard earned point.