MATCH REPORT | Chorley 0 – 0 Southport
Dec 27, 2017 1676 Views

MATCH REPORT | Chorley 0 – 0 Southport

At the end of this gutsy goalless draw, the Southport players went up to the hoardings at the front of the stand where the travelling fans had gathered and personally thanked many of those who had given the team their backing at Victory Park.

Southport supporters have clocked up the miles to away matches in recent weeks, from Brackley Town to Stockport County, Tamworth and Boston United, only to be left with varying forms of frustration.

Here, the Sandgrounders may only have taken a point, but after the traumas of their past few matches – the late collapses and some listless performances – the serenity of a scoreless draw brought welcome relief.

All along, Kevin Davies has insisted that his team is a work in progress, and while there remains plenty still to do, this was clearly a step in the right direction.

The Sandgrounders’ previous two matches had seen them lose in the closing stages at Boston before conceding four to Bradford Park Avenue, so the first goalless draw involving a Southport team since February 18 was something of a milestone.

For the second-worst defence in the Vanarama National League North, a long-overdue clean sheet was reward for a disciplined, determined and much improved defensive showing.

There were times when Southport rode their luck, most notably on 57 minutes, when Nick Haughton ballooned a penalty over the visitors’ crossbar in spectacular fashion after a tangle involving Billy Priestley and Jason Walker.

As the match went on, Chorley cranked up the pressure. For large parts, it was one-way traffic, but as Southport dug deep and remained compact, the visitors were restricted to mainly long-range attempts.

Chorley came into this game as one of division’s form teams and on the back of a comprehensive win at Salford City, the league leaders.

On the occasions that the Southport defence was breached, the home team found goalkeeper Jon Worsnop in inspired form.

Midway through the first half, Worsnop produced a marvellous double save, foiling a long-range drive from Josh O’Keefe before reacting instantly to deny Walker from the rebound with a demonstration of his reflexes.

Worsnop repeated a similar feat three minutes after half-time by saving Haughton’s free-kick and a follow-up from Walker, and later he used his body to stop Adam Blakeman’s fizzing first-time drive on the goal-line.

Had Chorley shown more care with their attacking play, they may have found a way through but Southport went about their task manfully.

The Sandgrounders had not managed a clean sheet since their last victory on September 2, a run that now stands 18 matches. Although this result was pleasing, it will be a new calendar year before they next have the chance to put right that record.

Southport’s resilience came largely at the expense of any attacking ambition – two first-half efforts from Jordan Hallam were the sum total of their offensive work – but Davies had reason to be heartened.

The manager spoke afterwards about his team’s work-ethic and, to that end, no player embodied the Southport fight more than David Lynch. With crucial challenges, a rugged determination and driving energy, the captain set the tone on the pitch and also led his team-mates over to shake hands with the travelling fans at full-time.

How important this result will be remains to be seen. A lot depends on what Southport do next but, for now, they at least have a platform on which to build.

 

Southport (4-1-3-2): Worsnop, Sheron, Smith, Priestley, Richards, Lynch, Hine, Hallam, Morgan, Gilchrist, Sampson.
Subs not used: Foster, Howson, Jackson, Kpohomouh, Lowe.

Chorley (4-2-3-1): Urwin, Challoner, Teague, Leather, Blakeman, O’Keefe, Whitham, Hughes (Mooney 74), Haughton, Carver, Walker.
Subs not used: Roscoe, Charnock, Cottrell, Beesley.

Attendance: 1,517

Referee: Leigh Doughty

Report by Alan Jones

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