MATCH REPORT | Southport 3 – 2 Maidstone United
Jamie Allen scored twice and Liam Nolan bagged another as Southport registered a third straight league victory to continue their revival under Steve Burr.
Five weeks ago, Southport tumbled to the bottom of the Vanarama National League table but six unbeaten matches later, they now occupy 18th position and sit three points above the safety line.
There is an air of confidence about Southport these days and this win was more emphatic than the scoreline would suggest.
It also means that the Sandgrounders go into their Emirates FA Cup first round replay at Fleetwood Town on Tuesday on the crest of a wave.
While Allen scored twice, Southport’s win was embellished with fine individual showings from Liam Nolan, another goalscorer, and Jordan Lussey, who had a hand in all three.
There was much to admire about the quality of the Sandgrounders’ football, playing high-tempo football and putting together neatly-constructed, flowing moves.
It took just five minutes for Allen to put Southport in front, the striker turning the ball home from inside a crowded penalty area after Lussey’s corner had been touched back by Nolan.
Having found a settled line-up in recent weeks, there has been a real cohesion to the Sandgrounders’ play and that confidence was again evident from the start.
Although the pace of their football dropped as the half went on, Burr’s team dictated the play without creating the chances to reflect their level of control.
The home team did add to the lead at the end of the half and a corner from Lussey again provided their route to goal, this time the excellent Nolan sending a first-time finish inside the near post.
Allen scored his second seven minutes after half-time, taking a superb pass from Lussey in his stride before holding off the challenge of Jamie Coyle and guiding home a low finish past goalkeeper Lee Worgan.
Maidstone reduced the arrears when Yemi Odubade capitalised on Southport’s failure to deal with a left-wing cross from Bobby-Joe Taylor, who also added a stoppage time penalty, but a comeback was never on the cards.
Southport (4-4-2): Norman, Higgins, Howe, Thompson, Ashton, Lussey (Grimes 83), Weeks, Nolan, Caton (Hynes 67), Allen, A Jones (Cofie 83).
Subs not used: Gray, Ferguson.
Maidstone United (4-3-3): Worgan, Twumsai, Acheampong, Coyle, Taylor, Paxman, Sweeney (Evans 53), Flisher, Loza, Hudson-Odoi (Greenhalgh 69), Odubade (Enver-Marum 86).
Subs not used: Driver, Murphy.
Referee: Sam Allison
Report by Alan Jones