and reproduced by kind permission
A season of changing character saw Southport, instilled with a fine team spirit by trainer-coach George Mutch, fight their way up the table into a challenging position, by Christmas. The turning point came on December 31st with a 5-1 reverse at Doncaster Hovers, after which only one victory was recorded — a scintillating 5-2 win away against Oldham Athletic.
Until the Doncaster match, the 'Port were lying fourth in the table, but it was
clear that the attack was not strong enough. Ultimately the strain told on the
defence and a series of injuries undermined the side's performance. the season
can be analysed into three distinct phases:
P W D L GF GA Pts Aug. 20-Sept. 12 .... 8 0 5 3 11 16 5 Sept. 17-Dec. 27 .... 15 11 0 4 23 14 22 Dec. 31-April 29 .... 19 1 8 10 17 41 1
While the learn was in form the crcwds flocked to Haig Avenue. The average league attendance was 7,787, compared with 7,588 the previous season and 7,095 in 1947-48. On December 27th there was a record league crowd of 14,766 for the 3-2 win over Rochdale. The game was marred by an injury in which Stanners, the visiting goalkeeper, broke a leg: Livesey, later to join Southport, deputised in goal. Attendances were soon to slump, however, as the post-war boom neared its end.
November 1949 brought one of the club's most memorable. ',freak' goals in the match at Crewe. Southport had the first-half advantage of a gale-force wind blowing straight down the pitch and. Elson, the Crewe goalkeeper, essayed a goal-Kick directly into it. The ball soared into the air but, checked by the wind, only reached the edge of the penalty area from where centre-forward Frank Walsh, a Celtic trialist, promptly headed it back into the net !
The week after the Doncaster debacle, Southport entertained a Second Division Hull City sfde which included Raich Carter, Don Revie and Eddie Burbanks. A 15,617 crowd - a figure which has only been exceeded once since the war — watched as Trevor Hitchen hit a storming shot which rebounded back into play off the inside of the post with goalkeeper Biy stranded. Hull scored five in the replay, when Coin Beardshaw, although clearly unfit, was included in place of Jimmy Cookson.
Two loyal clubmen seldom in the limelight, Harry Harrison and Kenny Banks, netted £550 and £275 respectively from successful benefits. Harrison, a utility defender, was signed from Chesterfield in the summer of 1939 and he caused a minor sensation when he immediateiy displaced skipper Dave Hill at the start of the ill-fated 1939-40 season. Banks, a wing-half from Wigan, first appeared on November 27th, 1942, against Liverpool and had the rare distinction of "sharing'' a goal wtih Alan Ball against Barrow in 1948. when both players kicked the ball simultaneously into the net. Characteristically, the unassuming Banks waived his claim to the goal and it stands credited to Ball.
Transfer-listed at the end of the season, Cec Wyles went to Bangor City, Harry Boyle, regular left full-back for three seasons, joined Rochdale and Ralph Maddison was transferred to Goole, whilst Jimmy Cummins, secured from Horden Colliery Welfare for £750, disappointed and was allowed to join North Shields. A surprise economy measure in June was the announcement that George Mutch's contract would not be renewed. Southport had paid Bury a substantial fee for his services, but he had been unable to do himself justice in the rough and tumble of the Third Division. Bobby Jones, the former Southport and Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper, was elevated from reserve team trainer to replace him.Season Summary reproduced with Permission from: The Sandgrounder (Southport FC Matchday Programme) Article Series. Southport through the seasons. The League History of Southport FC, Compiled by Michael p. Braham and Geoffrey S. Wilde If you can provide any further information please contact me