MATCH REPORT | FC United of Manchester 1 – 0 Southport
Jan 8, 2018 1049 Views

MATCH REPORT | FC United of Manchester 1 – 0 Southport

As a former striker, Kevin Davies will appreciate more than most the importance of a clinical touch and a cool head when in front of goal.

In the 12th minute of this game, Davies watched on as Tom Graves, his opposite number who combines the role of manager with that of goalscorer-in-chief for FC United of Manchester, angled a run in behind the Southport defence before finishing with unerring composure.

Greaves’ finish was accomplished, but as chances came and went for Southport in their hunt for an equaliser, the lack of a cutting edge from his own team will have been an obvious source of frustration for Davies.

The Sandgrounders would have deserved a draw against their in-form opponents and they created enough to taken a point, but for all their promise and possession they lacked penetration.

After ending the long wait for a win against Chorley on New Year’s Day, Davies again took encouragement from his team’s performance but their efforts came to nought.

Davies’ task in reshaping the Southport squad has been significant but the manager’s mark has become increasingly evident in recent matches as he makes the team his own.

Much of the change in personnel has been for the better but among the four departures before this game was Jordan Hallam, whose loan from Sheffield United came to an end. Hallam has arguably been Southport’s most creative asset in recent months and as the Sandgrounders chased an equaliser, his craft and ingenuity were sorely missed.

Graves scored the only goal early on in the piece, lifting a shot delicately over goalkeeper Jon Worsnop after Joel Senior’s weighted through-ball allowed the FC United player-manager to escape the clutches of the Southport defence.

Greaves has led from the front in FC United’s recent resurgence and was presented with the Vanarama National League North Player of the Month for December ahead of kick-off.

After conceding an avalanche of goals, Southport came into this match on the back of two clean sheets and they can again reflect on a generally sound defensive showing.

Apart from the goal, the only other chances created by FC United came in the closing stages when the Sandgrounders were pushing for an equaliser. Worsnop saved twice from Connor McCarthy, the former Southport striker, before scooping out a lofted effort from Senior.

Southport’s clearest openings came in the latter part of the first half, including three golden chances. Nathan Lowe looked to have put the ball on a plate for another former FC United player in Jason Gilchrist but as the ball fizzed across the face of goal from the left wing, Gilchrist appeared to hesitate, allowing goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson to intervene.

Lowe was again the creator when his free-kick found its way to the far post, where Brad Jackson scuffed his shot into Allinson’s grasp when he should have used his unmarked position to better effect.

And two minutes before the break, Jackson saw another chance pass him by. As Lowe fed the ball out to the left, Jack Sampson played it into the area, but Jackson, sliding in at full stretch, was unable to connect.

For much of the second half, Southport were in control of the play but again they failed to capitalise. David Morgan was twice denied by goalkeeper Allinson, who also saved from Gilchrist but the Sandgrounders could not make it count.

 

FC United of Manchester (5-3-2): Allinson, Senior,Fagbola, Kay, Baird, Corbett, Lindfield (Palmer 68), Irwin, Glynn, McCarthy (Crawford 82), Greaves (Gilchrist 80).
Subs not used: Wisdom, Jones.

Southport (4-2-3-1): Worsnop, Smith (Dawson 86), Sheron, Priestley, Richards, Morgan, Lynch, Hine (Jackson 20), Lowe, Sampson, Gilchrist.
Subs not used: Halstead, Howson, Kpohomouh.

Attendance: 2,863

Referee: James Oldham

Report by Alan Jones

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