MATCH REPORT | Southport 1 – 2 Macclesfield Town
Southport suffered their 11th home defeat of the season as Macclesfield Town scored twice in as many first-half minutes.
Not even a fine strike from Ryan Higgins could restore any pride for the Sandgrounders, who remain ten points adrift of safety with five matches of the campaign to play.
Through to the final of the Buildbase FA Trophy and with a chance of still reaching the Vanarama National League play-offs, Macclesfield were dominant for most of the game.
Having taken an early lead, the visitors controlled possession and were able to almost play within themselves.
Macclesfield dropped deeper as the match went on, allowing Southport to see more of the ball and belatedly apply some pressure, but the home team never looked like finding the craft needed to force an equaliser.
There was a air of simplicity to Macclesfield’s two goals, Neil Byrne, the former Southport defender, scoring the first on 14 minutes as he jumped highest inside the area to head home a right-wing cross from Danny Whitaker.
And Anthony Dudley promptly added a second, connecting with a centre from Andy Halls to exploit the lack of any Southport marking.
At that stage, it looked like being a long evening for Southport, as the visitors played the ball around at their own pace without the urgency to increase their advantage.
Southport had failed to make any impression on the Macclesfield defence but Higgins reduced the arrears three minutes before half-time, dispatching a superb 30-yard strike after good work from Jamie Allen to present him with the chance.
Macclesfield spent most of the second half in possession and came within inches of adding a third when Macreth’s cross from the right was headed onto the crossbar by Mitch Hancox at the end of a sweeping move.
Chris Cheetham, making his debut in the Southport goal, saved a pile-driver from Byrne before Hancox and Dudley sent chances over the crossbar.
As Macclesfield dropped off, so the home team were able to apply some pressure but they failed to create anything in the way of a clear chance.
Southport (4-4-2): Cheetham, Higgins, White, Murray, Myers, McKenna, Hynes (Stevenson 70), Weeks (Brodie 77), Nolan, Almond, Allen (Jones 74).
Subs not used: McKeown, Cundy.
Macclesfield Town (4-2-3-1): Flinders, Halls, Byrne, McCombe, Fitzpatrick, Summerfield, Norburn, Macreth, Whitaker, Hancox, Dudley.
Subs not used: Whitehead, Cowan, Ross, Haworth, Thorne.
Referee: Steve Rushton
Report by Alan Jones