Four matches, four draws: Southport under Kevin Davies are nothing if not consistent.
Having suffered a run of six straight defeats before their change of manager, the Sandgrounders continue to provide evidence that progress has been made during the opening weeks with Davies in charge.
Yet while Southport have certainly become a more formidable proposition in recent matches, they left the Tameside Stadium still awaiting their first win since early September.
A draw at Curzon Ashton, who have forged a reputation as a vibrant team in the Vanarama National League North with a strong home record, is definitely a positive result.
But to have come from behind to lead before relinquishing that advantage with almost the last kick of the first half meant disappointment was again evident in Davies’ tone as he shared his thoughts at the end of a hard-fought encounter. Progress was always likely to be steady.
This match had started in frenetic fashion and while it continued at a good pace, neither team could claim to have done enough to warrant the win.
After falling behind, Southport’s best period came as the first half grew older. Davies was buoyed by his team’s attacking play and at the centre of their best work was Jordan Hallam, the on-loan Sheffield United youngster who continues to impress.
Having won the penalty from which Steven Schumacher equalised, Hallam displayed a clinical touch to put Southport in front but, just like the team, sustaining that level of performance proved difficult.
Davies was right to lament the Sandgrounders’ carelessness in defence, conceding for the 28th time in the space of ten matches, and having earned the lead, their failure to build on it was a source of deep frustration.
The game was only nine minutes old when Southport’s fragilities were first exposed, James Baillie releasing Ben Wharton, who capitalised on the space afforded to him in the Southport area to score.
The response from the Sandgrounders was swift. On 18 minutes, Hallam earned a penalty by drawing a foul from Chris Rowney after venturing into the area, allowing Schumacher to convert with no fuss.
And with Southport now making good headway, it was Hallam who put Davies’ team in front, taking the ball around goalkeeper Cameron Mason and rolling it home from a narrowing angle having reacted first to a slip from Rowney.
It looked as though the visitors would take control, Kaiman Anderson and Dan Cockerline bringing saves from goalkeeper Mason, but Southport’s vulnerability cost them again in added time at the end of the first half.
Goalkeeper Mark Halstead produced a fine reaction save to deny Niall Cummins, but the Curzon striker profited from the resulting corner, flicking the ball in after Baillie had played it short to Jamie Stott.
Southport were never able to rediscover their rhythm after the break, although they did display greater resolve. Of the limited openings, Curzon had the stand-out chance but Stott spurned a free header from Joe Guest’s corner and, for the Sandgrounders, the sense of stalemate is now familiar.
Curzon Ashton (3-4-1-2): Mason, Shaw, Howson, Stott, Baillie, Rowney, Regan (Clark 73), Guest, Baker (Wright 78), Wharton, Cummins.
Subs not used: Crothers, Hunt, McKenzie.
Southport (4-4-1-1): Halstead, Smith, Dugdale, Sykes, White, Hallam, Lynch, Schumacher, Jackson, Anderson (Lowe 68), Cockerline (Hine 64).
Subs not used: Turner, Jones, Morgan.
Referee: Paul Brown
Report by Alan Jones