On this day in 1979 Southport visited Bangor City for the first time as a non-league club. The two clubs had been drawn together three times in the FA cup previously but Southport had always been considered favourites as a established Football League side on each occasion.
Following Southport’s exit from the Football League almost eight months earlier to the day, the tables had turned. Bangor City had even been considered to replace Southport in the Football League and had it not been for Wigan Athletics recently installed Crush Barriers, may well have done so.
Southport were still trying to acclimatise to their new surroundings and went into the game off the back of a miserable January in which they had failed to register a victory.
Off the field all the talk was about the new Premier League Alliance that was awaiting ratification by the FA. In anticipation of getting the go-ahead from the local county FA’s all grounds and facilities were in the process of being inspected and graded by the distinguished trio of Sir Matt Busby, Bob Lord and Dick Wragg. Clubs were to be graded in either A or B categories, the former being considered to be up to football league standard. As the Sandgrounders had been a League club for 50 years prior to this season their A graded was considered a formality.
Considered by many to be non-league Football’s biggest ever step forward, there was much optimism that the new Alliance would create a permanent link up with the Football League. The Liverpool Echo, on the day of this game loudly proclaimed “Non-league set to go Nationwide!”
In due course, naturally enough, Southport would be invited to become founder-members. The Board however, which still included the now despised Walter Giller, turned down the opportunity on the grounds that the additional travelling costs were prohibitive.
Southport were distancing themselves still further from any hopes of ever recovering their League place and the widespread alienation of the supporters that this decision would engender carried with it a consequent effect on playing staff morale and results on the pitch.
On this day however all that would come to pass was very much still unknown.
The game saw the Sandgrounders climb to a season high of fifth thanks to goals from Terry Nolan and John Salter. The joy however was clouded by a severe ankle injury to debutant John Gerrard.
BANGOR CITY 0 – 2 SOUTHPORT
Southport Line-Up: Graham Barrow, Paul Birchall, Ron Pickering, Frank Towers , John Salter , Terry Nolan , Graham Cunneely , Tommy Wheeldon , Chris Kisby , John Gerrard, Barry Knowles ,
Subs: Brian Jackson (Paul Birchall),
Goals: Terry Nolan , John Salter ,