MATCH REPORT | Southport 0 – 3 Gateshead
Southport conceded at the end of either half as they slipped to their second successive defeat of the Vanarama National League season against Gateshead.
The Sandgrounders lost their opening match 3-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday, and although the final scoreline this time was hard on Andy Bishop’s team with two late goals, the manager was again left with plenty to ponder.
Despite seeing an increased amount of the ball as the match progressed, the Sandgrounders were unable to convert their possession into anything meaningful in front of goal and, one behind, they never looked like finding a way back.
Although Gateshead enjoyed the better of the early possession, it was Southport who were responsible for creating the game’s first chances.
Their best opportunity came on 14 minutes, Louis Almond dispossessing James Bolton before releasing James Caton, who worked his way towards the byline before sending a shot from the narrowest of angles against the outside of the post.
Yet despite a better performance than on the opening day against Dagenham, that was as good as it got for the Sandgrounders.
Gary Jones saw an effort from 25 yards deflected wide after he had latched onto a loose ball from an Andrai Jones free-kick, while the outstretched leg of Almond was unable to direct James Gray’s low cross towards goal.
Territorially, the teams were evenly-matched, and Bishop will have been encouraged by the improvement from the Sandgrounders at that stage.
It took Gateshead until the 37th minute to get behind the Southport back-line. Paddy McLaughlin’s cross from the left was cushioned into the path of Danny Johnson by the head of Reece Styche. Johnson turned smartly, before his angled effort was turned behind by Andrai Jones.
But the home defence was unlocked on the brink of half-time as Gateshead staged a clinical counter-attack. From his own penalty area, McLaughlin released Johnson, who held off the challenge of Ross White as he ran the length of the Southport half, before planting an excellent low finish into the bottom left-hand corner.
Physically strong and playing with three central defenders, Gateshead proved themselves to be an obdurate, well-organised team, and from then on it was always going to be difficult for the Sandgrounders to break them down.
Bishop’s team saw plenty of possession in the second half but no chances were created.
The Southport manager made a double substitution midway through the half, replacing Gray and Almond, his two forward most players, with Connor McCarthy and Louis Almond, but the home team lacked the ideas needed to apply any pressure.
Having been released by Tyrell Belford’s long ball, Jamie Allen showed his pace to bypass Bolton, the Gateshead wing-back, but his cross went into the arms of goalkeeper Sam Johnson, who remained unworked throughout the night.
Gateshead added a second goal three minutes from time, Wes York sending a long-range shot into the unguarded Southport goal after receiving a poor clearance from keeper Belford.
And substitute Mitch Brundle completed the scoring in stoppage, making the most of Southport’s failure to deal with a pass from York.
Southport (4-4-1-1): Belford, A Jones, White, Thompson, Ashton, Allen, Nolan (Grimes 80), G Jones, Caton, Almond (Cofie 59), Gray (McCarthy 59).
Subs not used: Crump, Kearns.
Gateshead (3-4-1-2): S Johnson, Hogan, M Smith, Fyfield, Bolton, Mafuta, McLaughlin, G Smith, York, Styche (Bowman 59), D Johnson (Brundle 72).
Subs not used: Hanford, Jones, Sweeney.
Referee: David Richardson
Report by Alan Jones