MATCH REPORT | Southport 1 – 0 Boreham Wood
They say patience is a virtue and after a long, long wait for a win, Southport were rewarded with something to finally cheer about.
On the weekend that the clocks go forward, the Sandgrounders turned theirs back to register a first win in more than two months to see off Boreham Wood.
The last time Southport picked up maximum points, on January 10 at Barrow, they sat three places and six points above the relegation zone.
Nine league defeats later, the Sandgrounders came into this match anchored to the foot of the table. They remain seven points adrift of safety with an inferior goal-difference, but as they watched on in the spring sunshine, the home fans were given reason to smile thanks to Liam Nolan’s 81st-minute winner.
Having received the ball after a sliced clearance from Grant Smith before working his way into space, Louis Almond brought a parrying save from the Boreham Wood goalkeeper. The ball fell to the oncoming Nolan, who steered home an excellently-controlled finish from inside the area when under pressure from the recovering defenders.
“It’s been a long time coming but hopefully this can be the start of a good run at the end of the season,” Nolan said.
“It’s tough when you’re losing games but everyone has stuck together. The ball dropped to me, I concentrated on getting a first touch down and then it was a case of firing it in.
“Everyone is buzzing in the dressing room and our next two games are at home so we’ll be looking to carry this on.”
Having tried to force the issue throughout and applied increased pressure as the match went on, Southport merited their win.
In a match when clear chances were at a premium, Southport needed goalkeeper Craig King to produce a reflex save from Matthew Paine’s first-half header after meeting a Kenny Davis corner.
King, at 19 years of age, cut an assured presence in the Southport goal, and he again displayed his reflexes two minutes after the interval to touch wide a shot from Bruno Andrade when the Boreham Wood striker was through on goal.
Although Southport were responsible for the better football, the question was whether they could find the guile to open up a stubborn visiting defence.
Louis Almond tried to add some craft, shooting at Grant after cutting in front the right during the early stages, before the excellent Ryan Higgins saw a fierce 30-yard free-kick gathered by the Boreham Wood goalkeeper at the second attempt.
Yet Southport kept plugging away, and having gone close to taking the lead at the end of a good move which saw Nolan release Declan Weeks, whose cross was headed over by Jack Higgins, they finally unpicked the lock thanks to Nolan.
The points lift Southport off bottom place and represent a first win in charge for manager Andy Preece, who celebrates his 50th birthday on Monday.
Southport (3-5-2): King, White, J Higgins, Murray, R Higgins, Stevenson (Hynes 73), Weeks, Nolan, McKeown, Almond (Ashton 90), Brodie (Jones 69).
Subs not used: McKenna, Coly.
Boreham Wood (3-5-2): Smith, Devera, Stephens, Woodards, Shakes, Paine, Davis, Reason (Williams 84), Ilesanmi, Andrade, Ferrier (Hitchcock 67).
Subs not used: Balanta, Keita, Montel.
Referee: Andrew Miller
Report by Alan Jones