Finalists just 9 months before, Southport were hoping that a visit to Runcorn in the FA Trophy on this day in 1998 would be a welcome distraction from a torrid league campaign. Residing joint bottom of the Conference Futcher’s men were without a win in their last 15 league games, a period of almost 5 months.
Paul Futcher commented pre-match “It will be tough against Runcorn but we have to be positive. With our good cup record over the past couple of seasons, I always think we can get a result away from home in the Trophy.”
Southport had been drawn away for six consecutive rounds and in 13 away games in various competitions over the preceeding 18 months, Futcher’s men had lost just twice.
A midweek win however over Unibond League Lancashire City in the ATS Lancashire Trophy was anything but routine as they made the Sandgrounders look distinctly ordinary for much of the match.
The Sandgrounders had two influential players cup-tied, Lee Elam and Lee Trundle and Futcher was defending his decision to release Mike Marsh after just one appearance. Marsh had been unhappy at being substituted 63 minutes into his debut at home to Cheltenham the week before and had got changed and left the ground rather than speak to the manager at all.
Runcorn were welcoming back leading goalscorer Liam Watson from injury.
RUNCORN 2 – 3 SOUTHPORT
Competition: FA Trophy / 4
Southport Line-Up: Billy Stewart, Tim Ryan, Phil Bolland, Scott Guyett, Andy Farley, Phil Horner, David Gamble, Andy Gouck, Dave Thompson, Brian Ross, Lee Furlong,
Subs: Kevin Formby, Stuart Quinn (Scott Guyett), Brian Butler (Dave Thompson),
Goals: (Own Goal),Phil Horner, Scott Guyett,