Hard work pays off for the Port

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life - BY SAM CAR­ROLL sam.car­[email protected]­i­tymir­ror.com @SamCar­roll0 ASH­TON UNITED ................................................ 1 SOUTH­PORT ......................................................... 2

JACK Samp­son has urged his team-mates to take the pos­i­tives out of their FA Cup jour­ney that ended at Haig Av­enue last week.

South­port lost to Tran­mere Rovers in the sec­ond-round re­play but bounced back im­me­di­ately in Na­tional League North against against Ash­ton United on Satur­day.

Samp­son and David Mor­gan gave the Sand­grounders a 2-0 lead be­fore Jor­dan Richards’ un­for­tu­nate own-goal with 15 min­utes re­main­ing gave Ash­ton hope of a dra­matic come­back.

Liam Wat­son’s side held onto their lead, how­ever, and Samp­son did not un­der­es­ti­mate the vic­tory which took South­port three points clear of the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

“It’s mas­sively im­por­tant. The league is the most im­por­tant thing,” he said.

“We were dis­ap­pointed on Mon­day [against Tran­mere] but ob­vi­ously we have to take the pos­i­tives out of it.

“Christ­mas time there’s a lot of games com­ing up and where we are in the league we don’t want to be.

“There’s a lot of games com­ing up and we hope we can [move up the ta­ble].”

The 25-year-old for­ward, who started his ca­reer at Wi­gan Ath­letic be­fore join­ing Bolton and hav­ing spells at More­cambe and Mac­cles­field Town, also be­lieves the bril­liant cup run has helped turn­around their league cam­paign.

The Haig Av­enue out­fit are un­beaten in six Na­tional League North games fol­low­ing a dif­fi­cult start to the cam­paign and Samp­son praised the unity within the squad.

“It was bril­liant,” he added when asked about the FA Cup jour­ney.

“You’re in the lime­light and it’s a mas­sive thing con­fi­dence-wise. Peo­ple are watch­ing you and you’ve got to per­form.

“The lads did that. We’ve did well and I think it’s gone into the league. It just shows. Ob­vi­ously we had a tough start but we’ve gelled now and we’re all stick­ing to­gether. It’s pay­ing off.” BY ALAN JONES

ON a heavy pitch, in de­te­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tions and against de­ter­mined op­po­si­tion, this was an af­ter­noon for South­port to roll up their sleeves and grind out a re­sult.

Hav­ing started the week in the spot­light of the Emi­rates FA Cup, a dif­fer­ent kind of fo­cus was re­quired as the Port re­turned to league ac­tion at Ash­ton United.

Due to their com­mit­ments in a num­ber of knock­out com­pe­ti­tions, this was only South­port’s sec­ond Va­narama Na­tional League North fix­ture in five weeks, mak­ing an im­me­di­ate re­turn to win­ning ways all the more im­por­tant.

From the dis­ap­point­ment of their cup exit, the Port dusted them­selves down to claim a valu­able three points as they look to con­tinue the mo­men­tum gen­er­ated in re­cent months.

Jack Samp­son and David Mor­gan scored in ei­ther half to earn South­port max­i­mum points at Hurst Cross, mean­ing they have now col­lected 14 points from six un­beaten league games. Man­ager Liam Wat­son was quick to high­light the per­se­ver­ance shown by a bat­tling Ash­ton side. No sooner had Mor­gan added South­port’s sec­ond than the lead was re­duced back to a sin­gle goal, en­sur­ing the visi­tors had to with­stand a dif­fi­cult fi­nal 15 min­utes to see out the re­sult.

Ash­ton had started the game a point be­hind the Port and, on the back of a heavy loss against Stock­port County in the week, they de­serve credit for the way they made Wat­son’s team work for their win.

South­port could not have asked for a bet­ter start, Samp­son win­ning pos­ses­sion and break­ing through the Ash­ton de­fence be­fore slid­ing a low fin­ish past goal­keeper Luke Pilling in­side two min­utes.

The visi­tors’ start was good and in a half of few chances they should have added to their lead, Dion Charles burst­ing for­ward be­fore squar­ing to Brad Bau­ress but he placed his shot wide.

Ash­ton pre­sented an in­creased threat as the half went on, goal­keeper Dan Han­ford twice sav­ing well from Liam Tom­sett be­fore Matty Chad­wick, a reg­u­lar dan­ger to the Port de­fence, shot over.

Hav­ing seen Dean Win­nard turn the ball home af­ter an ini­tial ef­fort from Charles only to be de­nied by an off-side flag, the visi­tors did in­crease their lead when Mor­gan found the bot­tom left-hand cor­ner in style from out­side the area.

It rep­re­sented a rare mo­ment of qual­ity in a con­test made dif­fi­cult by the heavy rain and muddy con­di­tions but within five min­utes Ash­ton were back in the game.

Af­ter cut­ting in from the right, Chad­wick curled a won­der­ful ef­fort against a post and in the scram­ble that fol­lowed, Jor­dan Richards in­ad­ver­tently turned the ball over his own goal-line.

That was the cue for an Ash­ton flurry, Wat­son mak­ing a dou­ble sub­sti­tu­tion in an at­tempt to bol­ster his team’s re­sis­tance, as Tom­sett went close with two chances but South­port stayed strong.

Ash­ton United (4-2-3-1): Pilling, Chalmers, Jones, Rea­gan, Askew, Kay, Gould­ing, Tom­sett, Sheri­dan, Chad­wick, Mar­tin (Anghel 80).

Subs not used: Roberts, Crowther, Hill, Howarth.

South­port (4-2-3-1): Han­ford, Richards, Ed­wards, Win­nard, Ogle (As­tles 80), Wood, Mor­gan, Charles (Archer 80), Green, Bau­ress, Samp­son.

Subs not used: Davies, Mo­hammed, Mor­gan-Smith.

At­ten­dance: 286

Ref­eree: Amy Fearn

Man of the match: David Mor­gan

Mar­tin Rick­ett

David Mor­gan in ac­tion for South­port against Tran­mere

Jan Kruger

Jack Samp­son

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