MATCH REPORT | Southport 3 – 1 Stockport County

MATCH REPORT | Southport 3 – 1 Stockport County

Having suffered their worst result of the season at the hands of Stockport County, it was perhaps fitting that Southport took this opportunity to register arguably their most pleasing.

The visit of Stockport to the Merseyrail Community Stadium was seen by many as the biggest test of the Sandgrounders’ recent resurgence.

Southport had already played Stockport on three occasions this season, losing 6-0 in September and by an aggregate scoreline of 11-2, so victory for Kevin Davies’ team, and the manner of it, is a measure of the progress now being made.

Having endured a long wait for results to improve, Southport fans will probably reflect that their patience is being rewarded.

Jack Sampson scored twice as the Sandgrounders overturned a half-time deficit to register a third straight home win as their climb up the Vanarama National League North table continues.

Southport have garnered ten points from their last five matches and here the quality of their football at times in the second half was delightful.

Their bold, progressive attacking play yielded three goals and was encapsulated by a smoothly-sculpted second.

With a sharp exchange of one-touch football, David Morgan received a pass from David Lynch before releasing Jason Gilchrist, who set himself and curled a fine shot past the reach of goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe to put the home team in front on 71 minutes.

By that time, the momentum had changed dramatically in favour of Southport, who equalised two minutes after the re-start through Sampson.

The intensity of Southport’s play from the start of the second half left Stockport trailing in their wake. With Morgan pulling the strings in midfield and Lynch driving the team forward – two players who continually set the standard in the middle of the pitch – the home team were able to inflict damage with the craft of Adam Dawson, Gilchrist and Sampson.

The match appeared to be taking a very different course when Rhys Turner gave Stockport a lead on nine minutes with a close-range header after a deep cross from the left by Steve O’Halloran was touched back at the far post by Jason Oswell.

Indeed, there was little indication of a comeback as Southport initially struggled to find a rhythm and were restricted mainly to long-range efforts until the interval. Gilchrist sent a swerving shot wide after cleverly turning Dan Cowan but the home team’s play carried little punch.

That all changed when Sampson’s low shot from the edge of the area deflected off Jamie Stott and beyond the dive of goalkeeper Hinchliffe. Now there was a purpose to Southport’s play which the visitors could not contain.

Sampson has been pivotal in the Sandgrounders’ turnaround in form. Not only does get through a huge amount of work for the team but that endeavour has now translated into goals, and important ones, at that.

Sampson scored the game-changer to draw Southport level and, once Gilchrist had put the home team in front, he extended his tally to four goals in five matches with a header to complete a sweeping attacking move. Lynch brought the ball from midfield before sending it out to Gilchrist, whose brilliant cross allowed Sampson to do the rest.

It was Southport’s second goal in as many minutes as they secured the points in a style that few would have thought possible less than a month ago.

This was not just a win for Davies’ team but one achieved with panache and on the back of a stirring comeback which serves as a real statement of intent.


Southport (4-1-4-1): Worsnop, J Richards, Howson, Priestley, C Richards, Lynch, Dawson (Charles 85), Osborne, Morgan, Sampson, Gilchrist.
Subs not used: Halstead, Smith, Kpohomouh, Doyle.

Stockport County (4-2-3-1): Hinchliffe, Cowan, Clarke (Dixon 81), Stott, O’Halloran, Winter, Thomas (Duxbury 62), Ball, Turner (Stopforth 24), Stephenson, Oswell.
Subs not used: Ormson, McKenna.

Attendance: 1,652

Referee: Dean Hulme

Report by Alan Jones

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