MATCH REPORT | Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-2 Southport

MATCH REPORT | Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-2 Southport

It was a wild afternoon at the Horsfall Stadium, as the rain swirled and the wind howled, but nothing can dampen Southport’s outlook at the moment.

At the end of a week dominated by talk of the Emirates FA Cup, this visit to the leaders of the Vanarama National League North and the awful conditions they encountered provided the ultimate test of the Sandgrounders’ form and focus.

For them to emerge with a battling draw against Bradford (Park Avenue), extending their unbeaten run to ten matches, provided some of the clearest evidence yet of the progress that continues to be made.

Having taken an early lead through Dean Winnard, Southport earned a point thanks to a long-range strike from Brad Bauress, who came up with the crucial equaliser for the second game running following his memorable exploits at Tranmere Rovers the previous weekend.

This strike may not earn the same acclaim as the one voted as the best goal of the second round, but it was no less important.

After making strides in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, this is due to be Southport’s only league game in the space of five weeks, making it vital that their current momentum continued.

Although Bradford sit top of the table, there was little to choose between the teams during a tight 90 minutes and both sides had reason to be satisfied with a point.

After a week’s rest, Southport then face a run of three matches in five days, and they will be pleased to have negotiated this fixture by claiming a result with keeps their good form very much intact.

The scorer of the important equaliser, Bauress also provided the assist for the visitors’ first, supplying the corner which allowed Winnard to peel away and head Liam Watson’s team in front on 13 minutes.

The lead, however, lasted for five minutes, Bradford levelling with another header from a set-play, as Conor Branson found the space to convert a free-kick from Lewis Knight.

Southport’s start was good and both teams proceeded to exchange periods when they were on top, Knight creating space down the right before his shot crept past the far post, while Winnard found himself in another good position from a Jordan Richards free-kick but he fired the ball over.

The Sandgrounders began the second half with intent, as a shot from David Morgan was deflected over, while Bauress drew a save from goalkeeper Steven Drench, whose most impressive intervention was to prevent an own goal from defender Danny Lowe.

As the rain continued to fall on an already heavy pitch, the conditions for both teams were difficult.

Bradford went ahead on 74 minutes, Oli Johnson breaking into the area before scoring with an angled finish having been released by Gianluca Havern.

But again the equaliser was not long in coming, Bauress finding the target from range once more, this time with a low shot from 25 yards which bounced and nestled past the reach of goalkeeper Drench.

The closest either team came to a decisive goal was in stoppage time, as another long-distance shot from Marcus Wood flew just wide of the far post, but the result ensures Southport’s good run keeps going.


Bradford Park Avenue (4-3-3): Drench, Toulson, Ross, Havern, Lowe, Wroe (Spencer 82), Branson, Clee (Nowakowski 70), Knight, Beesley, Johnson.
Subs not used: Dawson, Huest, McKenna.

Southport (4-4-1-1): Hanford, Richards, Edwards, Winnard, Ogle, Charles, Wood, Morgan, Bauress, Gilchrist (Green 61), Archer (Sampson 71).
Subs not used: Homson-Smith, Mueller, Parry.

Attendance: 532

Referee: Tom Parsons

Report by Alan Jones

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