With 12 goals to his name, Louis Almond was Southport’s leading goalscorer and most influential attacking player last season.
There have been plenty of changes to the Sandgrounders’ squad during the summer, but once again Almond looks like being a key figure after scoring twice to inspire Andy Bishop’s team to their first win of the campaign against Woking.
Having seen his team-mates lose their opening two matches by a heavy scoreline, Almond provided the pick-me-up that Southport desperately needed, equalising with a penalty before scoring the winner two minutes from time.
Woking went ahead on 14 minutes, Dennon Lewis steering a cleanly-struck angled shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 12 yards.
It was a goal that came again the early run of play.
Retaining the services of Almond was one of Southport’s most important pieces of work this summer and here he was at the centre of almost all of what the home team did.
Having earlier seen his long-range shot touched wide by goalkeeper Michael Poke, Almond drew Southport level with a 19th-minute penalty after he was felled by Kieran Murtagh, the home team’s first goal of the season.
Southport had struggled for chances in their opening two matches, but this time the lack of defensive surety at both ends contributed to an open game.
Almond was unable to exploit the space afforded to him on the edge of the box after being played in by Liam Nolan, while a goal-bound shot from James Caton was blocked by Lewis.
Woking defender Brian Saah brought a flying save from goalkeeper Tyrell Belford after meeting Lewis’ left-wing cross with a thumping header, before Chigozie Ugwu lifted a shot over after a slick move involving Lewis and Fabio Saraiva.
Although the visitors were not without their chances, it was Southport who offered the likeliest source of a winner as the second half progressed, and so it proved.
[/one_half][one_half_last][alert color=”yellow”]Post match interview with assistant manager Craig Madden available here[/alert][/one_half_last]
Almond’s low angled shot was kept out by a Poke toe, before a rasping drive from Gary Jones flashed wide of the goal and Josh Thompson’s shot was blocked after good approach work involving Almond and Bishop, the player-manager.
And it was with full-time looming that the Sandgrounders found the winner, as Andrai Jones linked with Bishop, who released Almond to score with a measured finish.
Southport (4-4-1-1): Belford, A Jones, White, Thompson, Ashton, Allen (Grimes 74), Nolan, G Jones, Caton (O’Brien 90), Almond, Gray (Bishop 67).
Subs not used: Crump, McCarthy.
Woking (4-4-2): Poke, Caprice, Jones, Saah, Gordon (Penny 61), Lewis, Murtagh, Saraiva, Ralph, Ugwu (Kandi 74), Ansah (Edgar 82).
Subs not used: Carter, Hall.
Referee: Tom Nield
Report by Alan Jones