MATCH REPORT | Forest Green Rovers 5 – 1 Southport

Southport slipped to their fourth away defeat of the season on another disappointing afternoon against Forest Green Rovers.

The home team took the Sandgrounders apart at will to inflict on them another comprehensive loss as their poor start to the season continues.

Having played a number of the likely contenders for promotion from the Vanarama National League, August had always pro used to be difficult for Andy Bishop’s team and they will be glad to see the back of the opening month of the campaign.

Bishop himself found the target at the start of the second half to make the scoreline 2-1 but it again ended in catastrophe for Southport as their familiar frailties resurfaced.

After a series of heavy defeats, Southport turned in a vastly improved defensive performance to draw with Tranmere on Saturday but they were quickly back to their old ways.

As in the losses at Macclesfield Town and Lincoln City, the Sandgrounders conceded early, this time after six minutes.

A right-wing free-kick from Liam Noble was powered home by the head of Kieffer Moore, exploiting the lack of any challenge in the centre of the goal, and thereafter the visitors were always facing an uphill struggle.

Southport had actually started on the front foot, as Louis Almond’s 25-yard drive was touched over by the finger-tips of goalkeeper Sam Russell after 18 seconds, but things soon unravelled.

The home team extended their lead in the tenth minute, playmaker Mohamed Chemlal scoring from close range after a slip from goalkeeper Tyrell Belford.

At that stage, it looked like Southport’s brittle rearguard was about to disintegrate, as the powerful Moore crashed a shot against the near post after an excellent turn.

Belatedly, the Sandgrounders did stem the Forest Green flow, although the home team remained dominant. Dale Bennett drilled a low shot across the face of goal before Elliott Frear, reportedly the subject of transfer interest from the Football League, brought Belford into action with a rasping effort.

There was much to admire about Forest Green’s football in the first period, but Southport re-emerged after half-time with purpose and within five minutes they had reduced the deficit.

Ross White’s excellent right-wing cross was met by a bullet header from Bishop and for a period the Sandgrounders applied good pressure.

James Caton, cutting inside from the right before smartly shifting the ball onto his left foot, saw a 20-yard drive turned over by goalkeeper Russell, who also had to intervene to prevent White and Bishop from striking another goalscoring combination.

Yet the improvement from Southport was curtailed just after the hour, Charlie Clough heading home a corner from Noble to capitalise on the visitors’ failure to defend another set piece, before Moore added the home team’s fourth with 12 minutes remaining.

With the Southport defence again cut open, substitute Ryhs Murphy slotted home from close range to complete the scoring and consign the Sandgrounders to their heaviest defeat of the season so far.


Forest Green Rovers (4-3-1-2): Russell, Bennett, Clough, Racine, Pinnock, Noble, Traore (Carter 64), Frear, Chemlal (Murphy 71), Moore, Tubbs (Robert 60).
Subs not used: Lefebvre, Doidge.

Southport (4-3-2-1): Belford, White, Thompson, Howe, Ashton, Nolan, Stanley (Caton 24), G Jones, Allen (McCarthy 66), Almond, Bishop (Gray 63).
Subs not used: A Jones, Royle.

Attendance: 1,621

Referee: Adrian Quelch

Report by Alan Jones

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