HAIG AVENUE ERUPTS AS SANDGROUNDERS REACH WEMBLEY FOR THE FIRST TIME
Now it’s full steam ahead to the theatre of football.
A second half goal by Kevin Formby put Southport into the final at Wembley on May 17.
The emotional scenes of elation at the end of the match will live in the memories of all who attended this great occasion. The attendance of 4895 was higher than any in the Football League Third Division the previous day. There was a carnival atmosphere and kick off was delayed for 15 minutes to get everyone safely in the ground.
Southport were subdued and it was no surprise when Dennis Bailey netted for Slough after 30 minutes. The tension was unbearable. Southport’s goal came in the 66th minute and was controversial. The whole of the Slough team claimed Formby was offside resulting in bookings for Wilkerson, Brazil and manager McDermott was dismissed from the bench. Video evidence is inconclusive even after watching it many times so how the linesman was expected to see it on the day is impossible to say.
The crowd really got behind the team in the second half. Paul Futcher “The reception from the crowd was incredible. They really got behind us and gave the players a tremendous lift.”
It was Futcher himself who unhinged the Slough defence with a 40 yard through ball that saw Morris scurrying down the wing and wriggle past two defenders and with the ball inches from the line Kevin Formby tucked it home. The Haig Avenue crowd erupted. Southport created more chances but in true Sandgrounder style made everyone suffer an agonising final 24 minutes. The four minutes of added time seemed to last forever but the final whistle signalled a night of wild celebrations at Haig Avenue and in the town as the club’s dream of Wembley became a reality.
SOUTHPORT 1 – 1 SLOUGH TOWN
Stadium: Haig Avenue
Competition: FA Trophy / SF2L
Southport Line-Up: Billy Stewart, Tim Ryan, Paul Futcher, Phil Horner, Andy Farley, Kevin Formby, Dave Thompson, Brian Butler, David Gamble, Stephen Morris, Brian Ross
Subs: Paul Jones (Brian Butler), Paul Mitten (Kevin Formby), Phil Bolland (Tim Ryan)
Goals: Kevin Formby
Football: Southport celebrate Wembley final
Monday, 6 April 1998
Southport 1 Slough Town 1
Southport win 2-1 on aggregate
TWENTY years after being thrown out of the Football League, Southport have something to celebrate. For the first time in their 117-year history, the seaside club are on their way to Wembley, where they will meet Cheltenham in the FA Umbro Trophy final.
A courageous and committed second-half performance saw off the challenge of Slough Town at a packed Haig Avenue yesterday, after Southport had gained a 1-0 advantage in the first leg the previous weekend.
Slough, who were fortunate not to have Matthew Stowell sent off for a dreadful head-high tackle on Andy Farley, took the lead on the half hour when the home defence failed to clear a corner. Danny Bailey, having collected the ball 25 yards from goal, took a couple of paces forward and dispatched a firm low drive into the net.
After the interval, Brian Butler and his colleagues took a grip in midfield and pressed forward to support Southport’s strikers with the result that after 66 minutes they forced the equaliser which took them to the twin towers.
It was a goal that Slough will be arguing about all the way home to Berkshire. Steve Morris, who had scored the only goal of the first leg, cut in from the right flank and let fly. His shot was deflected to Kevin Formby, who scrambled the ball into the net past a team-mate, Brian Ross, standing almost on the goal-line. Slough appealed in vain for an offside verdict and their goalkeeper, Paul Wilkerson, was booked while their manager, the former Arsenal player Brian McDermott, was dismissed from the dug- out.
The goal may have been contentious, but it was deserved, and Southport’s player-manager, the 41-year-old Paul Futcher, can now look forward to a grand Wembley day out on 17 May.
Goals: Bailey (30) 0-1; Formby (66) 1-1.
Southport (3-5-2): Stewart; Horner, Futcher, Ryan; Thompson, Farley, Butler, Gamble, Formby; Ross, Morris. Substitutes not used: Bolland, Kielty, Bagnall (gk).
Slough Town (4-4-2): Wilkerson; Hercules, McGinnis (West, 73), Angus, Stowell; Smart, Bailey, Brazil, Bolt; Browne, Abbott (Owusu, 78). Substitutes not used: Smith.
Referee: B Coddington (Sheffield).
Bookings: Slough: Stowell, Wilkerson, Browne.
Man of the match: Butler.