Having looked likely for several weeks now, Southport’s relegation from the Vanarama National League may be confirmed on Good Friday.
Defeat at Dover Athletic, or victory for any two out of Braintree Town, Woking and York City will officially leave the Sandgrounders unable to climb out of the bottom four.
Andy Preece will be without Jim Stevenson, ineligible against his parent club, and it remains to be seen whether Louis Almond, Ben McKenna and Euan Murray, all missing through injury against Sutton, have recovered in time to feature on the south east coast.
Dover are chasing the play offs, lying one spot outside the top five on goal difference with a game in hand.
Undoubtedly they will be looking at Friday as an opportunity to gain three points at home to a side with, realistically, nothing to play for. Indeed all of Southport’s remaining opponents will be looking at the Sandgrounders as something of a ‘gimme’ in golfing terms.
This situation may well lead to surprises. Complacency may lead to slip ups, whilst on the other hand teams may start to feel pressure if, for instance, the score is level entering the final third of the game.
Southport’s fate is sealed, but they may as well try and gain some grim satisfaction from ruining someone else’s season on their way out.
By Christy Byrne