MATCH REPORT | Southport 1 – 2 Torquay United
Andy Preece says Southport will keep fighting to avoid relegation from the Vanarama National League after losing a crucial match against Torquay United.
The Sandgrounders remain bottom of the table and are now seven points adrift of safety with an inferior goal-difference after defeat to Torquay, who began the day in the final relegation place.
Having equalised at the start of the second half, Preece’s team were pressing forward for a winner of their own when they were undone in stoppage time on the counter-attack.
Dan Sparkes broke forward before releasing substitute Torquay Ruairi Keating, who slid the ball past goalkeeper Craig King to leave Southport anchored to the foot of the league.
Having spent most of the second half trying to force the issue, defeat was tough on Southport, but the fact that they did lose tells its own story.
Luke Young put Torquay in front on 35 minutes, exploiting the absence of any marking in the centre of the Southport area to apply a firm first-time finish to a low left-wing cross from Sparkes.
In a match between two of the division’s most out-of-form teams, rarely did the quality rise above the level of mediocre.
Southport tried to apply pressure but having reached the edge of the Torquay area on several occasions in the first half, they lacked the incision to trouble the visiting defence.
The Sandgrounders’ shortage of confidence in attacking areas was indicative of a team at the bottom of the table, but that changed two minutes after the interval when they equalised through Jim Stevenson’s 20-yard rocket, the midfielder firing in a fine shot that found the net via the left-hand post.
It didn’t quite give Southport lift-off, but the goal brought an improvement from the home team. Louis Almond was the most culpable by spurning three good chances, before goalkeeper Brendan Moore touched wide Euan Murray’s header from a Ben McKenna cross.
The Sandgrounders needed King to make a point-blank save to deny Brett Williams, but with the home team attacking, it was Keating who nicked it on the break.
Southport (4-4-2): King, R Higgins, White, Murray, McKeown, McKenna (J Higgins 90), Hynes, Stevenson, Meikle (Coly 86), Jones (Grimes 67), Almond.
Subs not used: Nolan, Weeks.
Torquay United (4-4-2): Moore, Hodgkiss, Anderson, McGinty, Rowe-Turner, Young, Lathrope, Verma, Sparkes (Gallifuoco 90), Harrad (Reid 60), Williams (Keating 81).
Subs not used: Chaney, Lee.
Referee: Tom Brammall
Report by Alan Jones