Match Report – Southport Visiter – 15/07/2021

Southport Visiter

Southport Visiter

Positives for Liam from first ’Port run out
Southport Visiter
15 Jul 2021

SOUTHPORT started pre-season with a 0-2 defeat to Blackpool FC at The Pure Stadium.

Goals from Demetri Mitchell and Shayne Lavery, either side of half time, helped the newly promoted Championship side to victory, in front of a strong returning crowd.

There were positives for Liam Watson’s side, including a solid debut for new goalkeeper Cameron Mason.

The deadlock was broken five minutes into the game, as Demetri Mitchell slotted into the corner.

Southport did have the ball in the back of the net themselves, with Marcus Carver heading into an empty goal, but Chris Doyle was deemed to have impeded the keeper in the build-up.

Both sides continued to create chances, but it was former Port loanee, Cameron Antwi, who came the closest, as his curling shot from the edge of the box was well stopped by the fingertips of Mason.

Down the other end, Jack Bainbridge came close to levelling the scores, but couldn’t hit the target from a Niall Watson cross.

Another great opportunity followed, as Connor Woods glanced a Jack Doyle ball back across the box, unfortunately Carver couldn’t steer his header goal wards.

Just before the break, Mason was called into action again, as he stopped a Jerry Yates effort with his feet.

In the second half, both sides made a host of changes.

Keshi Anderson came close to making an instant impact for the visitors, with a long-range effort going just wide of the target.

Daniel Grimshaw also had work to do early in the half, with the substitute keeper making a good stop to keep the Seasiders ahead.

A second goal for Neil Critchley’s side looked likely, with a goal line clearance needed to keep the deficit at one.

Mason also needed to make another excellent save, stopping Shayne Lavery’s attempt, which came after a superb run by Anderson.

The new Port keeper continued to impress, making a good save from Sonny Carey’s shot from distance.

With 14 minutes to go, Blackpool finally got their second, as Lavery got the better of Mason, as he glanced a header past him at the front post.

Southport nearly pulled one back, but Grimshaw made a good save against his former Man City teammate, Charlie Oliver, as the match finished 0-2. SOUTHPORT FC: Cameron Mason, Charlie Oliver, Jack Doyle, Adam Anson, Connor Woods, Charlie Munro, Marcus Carver, Chris Doyle, Dylan Vassallo, Niall Watson, Jack Bainbridge. Substitutes: Russell Benjamin, Doug Tharme, Jordan Archer, Josh Hmami, (two trialists).

BLACKPOOL FC: Jordan Thorniley,

Reece James, Jerry Yates, Stuart Moore, Demetri Mitchell, Grant Ward, Marvin Ekpiteta, CJ Hamilton, Cameron Antwi, Jack Moore, Bradley Holmes. Substitutes: Callum Connolly, James Husband, Kevin Stewart, Oliver Sarkic, Keshi Anderson, Josh Bowler, Sonny Carey, Shayne Lavery, Olly Casey, Luke Garbutt, Daniel Grimshaw.

GOALS: Mitchell (5’), Lavery (76’) ATTENDANCE: 1,049

Southport Visiter, 15th July 2021

Hmami in as fans return to stadium
Southport Visiter
15 Jul 2021

MORE than a thousand supporters filled the terraces at The Pure Stadium on Saturday as football made a welcome return to Haig Avenue.

Southport fans witnessed their team beaten 2-0 by Championship outfit Blackpool – but the sense of occasion was the clear priority for manager Liam Watson.

“I think the performance was secondary, it was a day for getting the fans back in,” he said.

“It was nice to be able to go round, mingling – it was nice to be able to mingle with the players because you haven’t really had that!

“It felt like the old times. I really appeciate Critch and Ben bringing Blackpool again, it was a brilliant occasion. Obviously they have just had a great season, gettng promoted and I’m sure they will do very, very well in the Championship. They fielded two very strong 45-minute sides, so we were tested!

“There were five or six lads who played 90 minutes for us and their last game was against Torquay in January! Seven months without football, so the ones who actually came through 90 minutes, every credit to them. We didn’t want to turn it into a lottery, bringing all triallists in and whatever, we tried to work with where we are and I’m pleased with what we’ve got.”

Watson’s squad was bolstered before the game by the addition of midfielder Josh Hmami, who featured in the friendly against Blackpool.

Hmami was with Marine last season and made a great impression in their historic FA Cup run which culminated in a home tie with Tottenham Hotspur.

The 21-year-old is an attacking midfielder who was born in Oldham and his youth career was spent at Bolton Wanderers, Barnsley and Accrington where he made one senior appearance.

Hmami has also had time at The New Saints, a loan spell at FC United of Manchester and Ramsbottom United where he scored 11 time in 25 starts.

In the shortened 202021 season he made 20 appearances for Marine finding the back of the net eight times.

“Josh is someone I’ve seen an awful lot, I’ve seen him develop,” said Watson. “He’s done great for Marine and Marine done great for him.

“He obviously has a burning desire to step up, I don’t think he was able to get himself a full time club but he’s still jumping up two levels to the Conference North, so if his ambition is to play in the Football League then it’s been a good stride for him.”

With the squad coming together ahead of the National League North campaign, Watson admitted they were still light on numbers, but added he was happy with what he had.

“If you haven’t got your squad in place and you’ve had seven months to prepare, there’s something really wrong with you! We are, one hundred per cent, light on numbers and things will be tight. But with what we’ve got I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

“We have some very good technical players and even though the squad is small, there’s good competition in the squad.”