MATCH REPORT | Leamington 0 – 1 Southport

MATCH REPORT | Leamington 0 – 1 Southport

As Southport look back on the opening week of the season, they will probably reflect that things could hardly have gone better.

There will be tougher challenges to come as the campaign goes on, but with maximum points to their name after three matches played, the Sandgrounders have a share of the early Vanarama National League North leadership and, more importantly, a platform on which to build in the weeks ahead.

Having chalked up three wins, scored seven goals and conceded just one, Southport’s start makes for very good reading, substitute Ethan Jones ensuring that the Sangrounders rounded off the first week with victory at Leamington.

As at Bradford Park Avenue on Monday, this was an afternoon for grinding out a result. Of the matches played so far, Southport had most difficulty imposing themselves here, but having withstood pressure from the home team and gradually worked their way into the game, they secured the points through Jones with 15 minutes to go.

Jones intercepted a short back-pass from Joe Magunda, reaching the ball ahead of Tony Breeden with the Leamington goalkeeper off his line, before sending an angled finish into the unguarded net.

The goal arrived at a time when a draw had seemed an increasingly inevitable outcome, with both teams struggling for sustained pressure and clear chances as the match went on.

Jones was one of two substitutes introduced during the early part of the second half and, in both of the matches when Southport have found themselves chasing the result , manager Alan Lewer has not been afraid to make the changes needed to alter the course of the game.

Jones may have scored the deciding goal but the win owed much to the performance of goalkeeper Iain Turner, who was forced into three excellent saves before half-time.

After tepid start, it was Leamington carried the greater threat before the interval and Southport were relieved to have escaped unscathed.

Turner foiled Ahmed Obeng when the Leamington winger should have done better after finding himself in space on the edge of the Southport area following a long throw-in from Richard Taundry.

Turner’s most impressive contribution was a flying finger-tip save to touch over Rob Thompson-Brown’s blistering 25-yard drive, and the Southport goalkeeper displayed his reflexes to keep out a far-post header from Jamie Hood with a low block.

As a match, it was always scrappy and became increasingly attritional, but once ahead Southport showed their resolve and never looked like letting the result slip.

Jones was introduced along with Steve Jennings shortly after half-time in an attempt to give the Sandgrounders a foothold and the visitors started to influence more of the play.

Jennings had an effort from long range and Andy White sent a shot into the side-netting after wriggling into the Leamington area before Jones came up the decisive moment to give Southport another win.


Southport (3-5-2): Turner, Dugdale, C Jones, Smith, Roberts, Kissock, Fletcher (Jennings 53), Jackson, White, Sampson, Martin (E Jones 64).
Subs not used: Zama, Roache, Garner.

Leamington (4-1-4-1): Breeden, Taundry, Hood, Magunda, Gudger, Clarke, Thompson-Brown (Revan 79), English (Gittings 46), Butterfield, Obeng, Bishop (Moore 79).
Subs not used: James, Canavan.

Attendance: 711

Referee: James Oldham

Report by Alan Jones

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