Match Report – Southport Guardian – 31st March 1886

“Southport won the toss, and resolved to play with the wind, which blew strongly and in gusts across the ground diagonally, not directly towards the Burscough goal. Burscough were in high favour with many of the spectators, and at first they seemed to have the pull, despite the wind. Baxter, however, checked his first flush of eagerness with a big kick, and the Burscough custodian had to hand out the leather. Southport, also, got a corner, and the Burscough back saved well, leading to the cry, often during the first half, of “Well done, Boscar”. The fortune of war changed rapidly, for the next moment the Southport “Scot” had his own goal to save. Back to the “Boscar” end the ball travelled, and the citadel was within an inch of the capture. The Southport forwards kept warm, and after a short tustle, Dutton spied a weak point in Burscough’s tough armour, and took advantage at the right moment. Southport 1. This ewas rather a surprise for some of the spectators, and “later on” there was a great surprise in store. Nearly all through accurate kicking was out of the question, the wind taking a delight in carrying the ball out of play., and hither and thither to the confusion of the forwards of both sides. No more score was made during the first half, during which the Southport backs, neither of them in form, required frequent support. Half a dozen times the ball got near the mouth of the Burscough goal, but Georgeson saved splendidly, his defence being a rare treat. The Southport goalkeeper had so little to do that he wandered very far down the field. Some capital runs, however, were made by Burscough, and they were expected to perform feats of scoring in the second half, with the wind partly at their backs. After change of ends, the wind blew harder than ever, and the play increased in vigour, and became very exciting. Realising the danger of their position, Southport played like giants refreshed, and seemed likely to do better against the wind than with its aid. The play of Briggs during the second half especially, was simply splendid. He was a host in himself. Bailey, who had played a consistently good game all through – save that we did not admire a throw in of his which led to hands for Southport – worked with a will, and the brothers Morris’ as usual, kept the ball with speed and skill. Dutton showed greater readiness in shooting, and was again and again appealed to by the spectators, with whom he seemed a prime favourite, to raise the Southport score. Burscough were clearly being overplayed, and it was rash on the part of one of their swiftest men to run right across the High Park practice ground whenever the wind carried the call to that extent. The same player showed a lack of energy on the field proper, and well he might after such unnecessary journeys. It seemed impossible for Southport to score, so impregnable was the Burscough fortress. After half an hour’s fruitless play, Southport fell off for a moment, and the ball was carried to their end of the field, winding up with a high-kick which landed at the bottom right hand post, and to everybody’s astonishment went through. Southport 1 Burscough 1. The Southport goalkeeper evidently expected to save with his hands up to his face, and the ball descended so rapidly and at so acute an angle, that it passed his knees without an obstacle to its erratic course. There was about a quarter of an hour left, and the excitement grew intense. Both teams struggled gamely, and though there was some rather rough play, of which Burscough got the worst, it was borne in good part. The Southport backs rallied somewhat, and delivered some useful kicks. Burscough, though hard pressed, prevented scoring, and a most interesting match ended in a draw, so that the tie will have to be played off on another ground, probably that of the Southport Wanderers. Of the Southport men not already mentioned, Mellor, who did some very useful work, and Mayall, who played am average game, merit notice. The goalkeeper had an idle-time, thanks largely to the noble efforts of Briggs, who deserves to bare his palm. For Burscough, Georgeson, in goal, excelled himself; and R.W.Bridge proved a very powerful back. Pilkington threw himself again and again into the thick of the fight, though he was ill, and would have retired at half-time but for the critical stage of the game. The rest of the Burscough men, with barely an exception ran well and passed cleverly, their weakness being in dribbling, at which the Southport men made rings round some of the Burscough team in the centre of the field.”

(Southport Guardian, 31st March 1886)