MATCH REPORT | Southport 0-2 Tranmere Rovers – FA Cup
Dec 18, 2018 622 Views

MATCH REPORT | Southport 0-2 Tranmere Rovers – FA Cup

In the end, it was just not meant to be for Southport.

Having dared to dream, a capacity crowd inside the Merseyrail Community Stadium saw their hopes dashed on a night when team and town gave it their all but fell narrowly short.

Knowing what was at stake after the Sandgrounders had played out a draw in the original tie against Tranmere Rovers 15 days earlier, Liam Watson had insisted that the prize on offer was so close yet so far. As it turned out, a place in the Emirates FA Cup third round felt agonisingly close.

Despite the result, this was still an evening that will be remembered with pride. The buzz and the sense of occasion inside the ground was something to savour, while the sell-out crowd of 5,414 was the largest to have witnessed a Southport home game in over 40 years.

For all their efforts over 180 minutes of football, the Sandgrounders were unable to overcome the the two divisions and 59 league places which seperate the teams, and the visitors’ quality was evident in both goals scored by Connor Jennings.

Having fallen behind on 14 minutes, the home team responded strongly and took the game to Tranmere as the first half went on, making it doubly disappointing to concede the crucial second just before the interval.

Southport also re-emerged after the break with gusto but, as Watson reflected afterwards, his players were unable to replicate the intensity of their performance from the original game.

The opening goal from Jennings was spectacular, receiving the ball from Dean Winnard’s header out of defence before dispatching a dipping volley from 25 yards.

And the Tranmere striker struck in style again two minutes before half-time, executing a turn and first-time shot from inside the area to convert Jake Caprice’s right-wing centre.

In the intervening period, Southport had grown into the game, their closest chance coming shortly before Jennings’ second as Ryan Astles delivered a cross and Brad Bauress connected with a stooping header which drew a finger-tip save from goalkeeper Scott Davies.

Southport’s approach work gave cause for encouragement to the vibrant home crowd, Bauress dragging a shot wide after finding space on the edge of the area before David Morgan had an effort blocked by Liam Ridehalgh after a period of good pressure.

The Sandgrounders began the second half in a similar manner, as Liam Edwards and Morgan both went close but Tranmere managed their lead well and afforded the home team few sights of goal.

Watson’s players kept on going until the end and they can take enormous credit for holding their own against a team with designs on promotion from SkyBet League Two.

The FA Cup journey, which began six games earlier in September, also saw them account for a higher-ranked opposition in Boreham Wood.

The cup run can be credited for helping to turn Southport’s season around and the challenge now is to maintain that good work.

 

Southport (4-1-4-1): Hanford, Richards (Archer 80), Winnard, Astles, Ogle, Edwards (Gilchrist 89), Charles, Morgan, Wood (Green 63), Bauress, Sampson.
Subs not used: Tibbetts, Mueller, Parry, Homson-Smith.

Tranmere Rovers (4-3-1-2): Davies, Ellis, McNulty, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Caprice (Buxton 82)), Harris, Gilmour, Jennings, Mullin (Stockton 80), Norwood.
Subs not used: George, Smith, Sutrton, Bakayoko, Cole.

Attendance: 5,414

Referee: Tom Bramall

Report by Alan Jones

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