MATCH REPORT | Bradford Park Avenue 1 – 2 Southport

MATCH REPORT | Bradford Park Avenue 1 – 2 Southport

For the first time since 2013, Southport have started a season with back-to-back wins, but the two results have been achieved in very different ways.

Just over 48 hours after they sauntered to an opening day victory over Boston United, a visit to the Horsfall Stadium was always going to require the Sandgrounders to show another side of their game, and so it proved.

The scoreline may not have been as conclusive but, in many ways, the victory was just as impressive, as Gary Roberts scored a minute from time to earn Southport maximum points in dramatic fashion against Bradford Park Avenue.

Having shown their ability to recover from a poor start and the concession of an early goal, Southport turned the match on its head to take control, and Roberts’ winner was reward for their persistence as they applied mounting pressure in search of the decisive goal.

These are early days, but having found goals difficult to come by during pre-season, a return of six from the opening two games will be particularly pleasing for manager Alan Lewer.

Lewer said that there has been an emphasis on encouraging Southport’s midfielders to occupy more advanced areas, and the main beneficiary has been Roberts, who followed his stylish long-range strike against Boston with the crucial moment here.

With the Sangrounders pressing forward, substitute Yves Zama cut in from the right before feeding a ball across the penalty area, allowing Roberts to sweep home a shot at the far post.

As the controlling influence in midfield, Roberts had been a key figure all night, breaking forward, picking passes and showing some excellent touches.

On Saturday, scoring an early goal had played an important part in helping Southport find their stride against Boston, but this time they found themselves on the back foot, Adam Boyes putting Bradford in front after ten minutes.

The striker poked the ball home from a matter of yards after Javan Vidal’s cross from the right side of the penalty area led to a scramble in which the Sandgrounders failed to clear.

It took until midway through the first half for Southport to settle, but once they did, the visitors forced an equaliser, Andy White receiving the loose ball from a Brad Jackson cross before sending a sweet left-footed strike past goalkeeper Steven Drench from just inside the Bradford area.

The goal was the result of a good period of pressure from the visitors and, with the course of the game now changed, Roberts almost put the Sandgrounders in front before half-time but his low shot after a superb turn was beaten out by Drench.

Southport saw an increased amount of possession as the second period went on, although when Drench produced a finger-tip save after a superb leap from Liam Martin to connect with a hanging cross from Roberts, the Sandgrounders must have wondered whether it was going to be their night.

Their cause was aided just after the hour when Vidal received a straight red card for a lunge on White, and with their pressure mounting, it was Roberts who ensured that Southport’s unblemished start continued.


Southport (3-5-2): Turner, Dugdale, C Jones, Smith, Jackson, Roberts, Kissock, Fletcher (Jennings 71), White, Sampson, Martin (Zama 84).
Subs not used: E Jones, Garner, Roache.

Bradford Park Avenue (4-2-3-1): Drench, Vidal, Havern, Knowles, Hill, Wroe, Spencer (Toulson 64), Brooksby (Nowakowski 81), N Boshell (D Boshell 64), Johnson, Boyes.
Subs not used: Hall, Knight.

Attendance: 574

Referee: Barry Lamb

Report by Alan Jones

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