In the summer of 1957 the directors had resolved to do their utmost to finish in the top half of the table and ensure they kept a place in the third tier when the league was restructured at the end of the season. The Southport board had voted against the abolition of the regional split on the basis of cost and loss of local fixtures. The football league chose otherwise.
Their intention to have 20 full time playing staff fell well short in reality, and even with twelve close season signings and the appointment of Stan Mortensen as Team Supervisor in complete charge of practice, policy and tactics on the field, the failure to replace key players from previous seasons meant that avoiding the Fourth division was always going to be a challenge.
Southport never looked like finishing in the top twelve and between mid-October and Christmas they lost a record eight consecutive league games. There were exits too from the Lancashire Senior Cup by Liverpool and the F.A. Cup by Wigan Athletic.
Shortly after this humiliation the directors agreed to Stan Mortensen’s request to be relieved of the responsibilities of his coaching duties.
The dismal spell ended on Christmas Day with a sparkling 5-3 win at Bradford P.A., Southport scoring four times in the opening twelve minutes and on January 11th a 2-2 draw with Bury lifted Southport off the bottom.
They remained in 23rd -position as we entered today’s game, with Accrington having won more home matches than any other Northern section club, save Rochdale and the leader’s Bury.
Information sourced from The Sandgrounder (Southport FC Matchday Programme) Article Series. Southport through the seasons. The League History of Southport FC, Compiled by Michael P. Braham and Geoffrey S. Wilde
ACCRINGTON STANLEY 2 – 2 SOUTHPORT
Southport Line-Up: Jack Richardson, Wally Taylor, Geoff Hazledine, Stan Mortensen, Bill Dodd, Ray Gryba, Stewart Schofield, Norrie McCredie, Jimmy McDermott, Tommy Dunne, Con Phillips,
Goals: Jimmy McDermott, Ray Gryba,