MATCH REPORT | Gateshead 3 – 0 Southport
This turned out to be a fourth straight defeat for Southport and, by the end, there was precious little for the travelling fans to cling to.
Liam Watson knows all about the battle to keep the Sandgrounders in the Vanarama National League and he admitted that improvements are needed if the current team is to keep its head above water.
Having returned as operations manager in September, this was Watson’s first match in interim charge following the departure of Steve Burr earlier in the week, but he could only watch as Southport were beaten comprehensively by Gateshead.
When Jordan Burrow headed the home team into a 27th-minute lead, there was a case for saying the Sandgrounders were the better side, but from then on it became all too easy for their opponents.
After creating three good early chances, Southport later hit the post, but those misses proved to be costly as the Sandgrounders struggled to impose themselves in any form as the match went on.
The one crumb of comfort on a disappointing afternoon is that Southport remain a point above the relegation zone but with 15 matches still to play they cannot continue to rely on the results of other teams.
Burrow put Gateshead in font with a close range header, converting a hanging cross from James Bolton after an initial effort from the right wing-back had been blocked by Neil Ashton.
Southport’s early play had been good and they should have exploited an unsettled home defence.
Jamie Allen shot at goalkeeper James Montgomery after being released by Rory McKeown when a square pass to Andrai Jones would probably have been the better option.
And Allen was again denied by Montgomery shortly after, working his way into space on the left side of the area before bringing a diving save from the goalkeeper.
Even after Southport had behind, Liam Nolan sent the ball against a Gateshead post after Montgomery had dropped a high ball when under pressure from Allen, but that is was good as things were to get for the visitors.
George Smith, Gateshead’s left wing-back, extended the home team’s lead two minutes before half-time with a fine 25-yard strike which found the bottom right-hand corner, and there was to be no way back for Southport.
Goalkeeper Magnus Norman made excellent saves either side of the interval, while Bolton sent an angled shot against the Southport upright.
Danny Johnson added the home team’s third midway through the half, receiving the ball from Wes York before galloping down the left wing, cutting inside and placing his shot through the legs of Norman to complete a miserable afternoon for the travelling fans.
Southport (4-4-2): Norman, R Higgins, Cundy, Murray, Ashton, Hynes, Weeks (McKenna 59), Nolan, McKeown, Allen (Grimes 59), Jones.
Subs not used: Springthorpe, White, Wright.
Gateshead (3-5-2): Montgomery, Hogan, M Smith, Fyfield, Bolton, York, Mafuta, McLaughlin, G Smith, Burrow, Johnson (Bell 73).
Subs not used: Hanford, Brundle, Ajala, Hannant.
Referee: Tom Bramall
Report by Alan Jones