Match Report – Southport Visiter – 24/11/22

Shootout consolation after FA Trophy exit


Nov 24, 2022

SOUTHPORT bounced back from a disappointing FA Trophy defeat at the hands of Curzon Ashton to beat Squires Gates on penalties in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy.The shootout win came after a game of very few chances on a cold Tuesday evening at Haig Avenue.The first 10 minutes lacked action as both sides were trying to find their feet in the game but Port took the lead in the 16th minute after a Walton cross got parried out by the keeper and landed straight at Niall Watson’s feet who tapped home to take the lead.The lead was short lived however as seemingly straight from kick off Cliffe found a yard of space around 20 yards out and fired an effort which sailed into the corner.There were plenty of chances for the home side to regain the lead but they just lacked the final finish required to put the chances away. The first half finished 1-1 with neither side really showing conviction in front of goal.Southport started the second half positively with a lot of pressure on the visitors defence but the only noticeable chance came in the 53rd minute when Hmami found room for a shot but his low effort was dragged wide.Squires Gate seemed to be through on goal in the 68th minute after a long ball found Theo Ball but Mason came and swept away the danger keeping the game level going into a tight final 20 minutes.The game ended with Southport pressing as they had all noight but to little effect and it had to be settled by penalties.Cam Mason was the hero, scoring and saving a pen which left Jack Doyle to win it with a calm finish into the corner and Southport progressed into the next round.The win offered a note of positivity after a disappointing loss at the weekend when Southport failed to progress in the Isuzu FA Trophy after Curzon Ashton recorded their first ever victory against the Sandgrounders in what was definitely a game of two halves.The first half was dominated by Southport and that was on show from the off as the home side took the lead in third minute after Jack Bainbridge received the ball just inside the box and fired home a lovely strike into the top left corner leaving Chris Renshaw unsighted.Bainbridge nearly doubled his tally just a few minutes later if it wasn’t for an outstretched fingertip save by Renshaw but after an action packed 20 minutes only saw the 1 goal to the home side who could have been two or three up in that short period.Southport had two golden opportunities to take double the lead but it was Curzon who levelled the game against the run of play after a corner for the home side lead to a counter being finished off by Josh Hancock seeing the visitors’ first shot result in a goal.The score remained level going into the break despite Bainbridge’s best efforts after a nifty piece of dribbling in the box sees him beat three defenders with only Renshaw to beat but the keeper managed to keep the ball out of the goal.Southport’s first half dominance was soon forgotten in the second half as it was Curzon who came out with a point to prove and in the 73rd minute they completed the turnaround after Sam Walker fired a first time effort into the bottom corner.Cam Mason seemingly kept Southport in the game after a wonderful double save gave the home side a boost. But Benni Smailes-Braithwaite found the back of the net, making it 3-1, in the 78th minute.Manager Liam Watson said: “Congratulations to Curzon, I think over the ninety minutes they probably deserved the win.“We could have come in three or four up at half time, but even if we had done, I still think the game would have gone to Curzon because we were so poor in the second half.“The back four defended really deep in the second half and never got up the pitch.“I didn’t see that coming, but you tend not to when you’ve been on a good run and everything has been positive. Sometimes it’s back down to earth with a bang.”Southport’s game at Herefordscheduled to be played on Tuesday December 20th will now take place on Saturday December 17th with a 3pm Kick Off.The home game against Curzon Ashton originally scheduled for New Year’s Day has been put back 24 hours and will now take place on Bank Holiday Monday, January 2nd with a 3pm Kick Off.