Southport picked up their first point of the Vanarama National League season with a draw at Macclesfield Town on Tuesday – but they left Moss Rose with a sense of what might have been.
The Sandgrounders registered a highly encouraging performance, but as they missed a penalty and hit a post, Paul Carden’s team were denied victory against the ten-men of Macclesfield.
Southport’s best chance to have secured the points came 11 minutes before half-time, only for a spot-kick from Gary Jones to be saved by goalkeeper Shwan Jalal after Josh Thompson had been fouled by Neill Byrne when contesting a Courtney Cameron corner.
It is almost two years since the Sandgrounders scored a league penalty – ironically at Moss Rose – and Jones’ miss was one of several chances the visitors failed to take as the first half progressed.
Cameron, one of three debutants in the Southport team who signed earlier in the day, came into his own during the latter part of the half.
He pulled the ball back after a fine run down the right, only for Mike Phenix, another new recruit, to turn and shoot over when perhaps the better option would have been to leave the shot for the oncoming Jones.
Macclesfield had started the match well without troubling goalkeeper Andy Coughlin and they also began the second half with intent, but Southport, on the back of conceding four goals against Eastleigh on Saturday were defensively sound.
The home team were reduced to ten men just after the hour when Andy Halls received a second yellow card for scything down Louis Almond as the Southport winger set off on a charging run.
Yet despite applying some heavy pressure as the second period wore on, the Sandgrounders were unable to capitalise.
The closest they came was when Jones sent a 25-yard drive against a post, before Luke Foster’s header from a Jones corner was blocked on the goal-line by Neill Byrne.
Macclesfield Town: Shwan Jalal, Andy Halls, Neil Byrne, George Pilkington, Tony Diange, Paul Lewis, Chris Holroyd (Dan Cowan 63), Danny Whitehead, Danny Whitaker, Danny Rowe (Jack Sampson 56), Kristian Dennis (John Marsden 82)
Subs not used: Richie Branagan, Paul Turnbull.
Southport: Andy Coughlin, Matt Challoner, Luke Foster, Josh Thompson, Will Beesley, Liam Nolan, Gary Jones, Louis Almond, Charlie Joyce, Courtney Cameron (Jamie Allen 75), Mike Phenix.
Subs not used: Adam Blakeman, Connor McCarthy, Paul Rutherford, Jon Viscosi.
Attendance: 1,472 (181 away)
Referee: Ian Hussin