Southport were defeated 1-0 in a drab match at St James’ Park this afternoon as unbeaten Brackley Town continued their impressive start.
Port started dangerously as a cross from Jack Doyle in the 6th minute looked like it could sneak in above Brackley goalkeeper Danny Lewis’ head but the former Kidderminster Harriers shot-stopper was alert to the danger and poked the ball over his crossbar.
But despite this promising start, it would be Brackley who broke the deadlock with the first major chance they had fashioned. In the 20th minute, Port failed to clear their lines from a Jimmy Armson free-kick and after some pushing and shoving inside the six-yard box Glenn Walker came out on top and poked the ball over the line.
Port had a chance to get back into the game 12 minutes later as Jack Doyle’s long throw caused trouble in an opposition box, not for the first time this season. On this occasion his cannon throw was allowed to bounce inside the box before falling at the feet of Chris Doyle, but the centre-back couldn’t keep his shot on target as his volley cleared the crossbar.
Not satisfied with their one-goal lead, Brackley continued to search for a second in the opening exchanges of a tight second-half. Their first chance came through Matt Lowe who made a dizzying run from the right-wing before attempting to beat Cam Mason into the top corner of his near post but Mason shot out an arm to deny Lowe.
Mason continued to deny Brackley their second, this time with a brilliant double save on the hour mark, first stopping Jimmy Armson before recovering quickly to block Louis Lomas’ effort.
Southport’s best chance to gain a point from the game came in the 66th minute as Dylan Vassallo dribbled into the box before cutting the ball back into a crowded penalty area. Southport’s front-line seemed to all get a shot off in the melee but couldn’t find a way past the sea of Brackley bodies with Shepherd Murombedzi eventually clearing off the line.
Almost directly after that chance, Brackley struck the woodwork, countering quickly before Matt Lowe chips a cross onto the head of Lee Ndlovu who hit the crossbar.
The hosts continued probing but Mason continued with a superb performance by denying Lowe before stopping Murombedzi’s rebound.
Southport threw everything at the hosts in the closing stages of the match and it nearly paid off five minutes from time as Jordan Archer was twice denied by Lewis in the Brackley net before the ball fell to Dylan Vassallo with the goal gaping but Murombedzi sprinted back just in time to get a leg behind the shot and deny Southport a point.
Southport now move on to cup action next week as we travel to Chorley to begin our FA Cup campaign.
Two audio clips from Liam as he discusses the game and and pays tribute to Chris Lloyd
Brackley (5-2-1-2): Lewis; Myles (Cullinane-Liburd 90+5), Lomas, Dean (C), Walker, Franklin; Armson, Murombedzi; Lowe; Mitford (Rolt 89), Ndlovu
Unused subs: Prosser, Yusuf, Wise
Southport (4-3-3): Mason; Oliver, C. Doyle, Tharme, J. Doyle; Hmami (Munro 82), Bainbridge, Vassallo; Buckley-Ricketts (Woods 57), Archer, Watson (Carver 80)
Unused subs: Anson, McMillan
Man of the Match: Cam Mason
Referee: Paul Brown
Liam Audio After The Game
Thank you to James Houghton for covering all the media duties this afternoon.
Liam pays his tribute to his great friend and former Burscough Chairman Chris Lloyd who sadly passed away yesterday morning