Braintree 1-0 Southport – Match Report

Southport are still looking for a win after the fifth time of asking in the Vanarama National League following defeat at the Avanti Stadium.

In blistering heat at Braintree, Paul Carden recalled two players who he lost on the opening day, Andy Wright who had been out with a groin strain and Andrai Jones who had been red carded.

A Danny Sparkes super 24th minute left foot, edge of the box finish proved the difference between the two sides.

In a match of frugal chances, with defences on top, the Sandgrounders had the best of the early encounters with home keeper Will Norris and his back four indecisive.

Adam Blakeman’s left foot deliveries for the Port posing danger. But Sparkes’ individualistic snap shot low finish beating Andy Coughlin to his right and changed the complexion of the encounter.

Referee Hatzidakis booked five Southport players in the first half making it an extra tough task and in a match of no malice added three Braintree players after the interval.

Braintree were ultra competitive throughout with midfield schemer Alex Woodyard outstanding appeared to be content to sit on their lead knowing the Port lacked real bite and threat in the final third and they were proved right.

Southport had two opportunities to equalise with skipper Luke Foster missing the target from 10 yards after a Gary Jones left flank free kick fell to the marauding centre back.

Paul Carden introduced all three of his substitutes in attack minded replacements with Jamie Allen’s 67th minute right to left angled shot just going agonisingly wide.

And a stretching Liam Nolan was just unable to connect with a Courtney Cameron stoppage time far post delivery.

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