MATCH REPORT | Southport 1 Fleetwood Town 3

MATCH REPORT | Southport 1 Fleetwood Town 3

Southport fall to defeat at the hands of Fleetwood Town in pre-season preparations.

Ashley Hunter scored twice as Southport’s penultimate pre-season friendly ended with defeat against Sky Bet League One side Fleetwood Town.

Hunter netted two first-half goals to put Fleetwood on course for a convincing win at the Merseyrail Community Stadium – on the same day they parted company with Steven Pressley, their manager.

Hunter netted his first after just two minutes, making the most of an error from Southport goalkeeper Tyrell Belford, who misjudged a through ball from Victor Nirennold. Hunter latched onto the loose ball before rolling it into the unguarded net.

Southport had their fair share of the play, Jamie Allen bringing a save from goalkeeper Chris Neal before James Gray put the rebound into the side-netting, but the home team struggled to pose a threat.

The Fleetwood team featured Conor McLaughlin, the full-back who played for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

And the visitors almost added to their lead with a brilliant move midway through the first half, Bobby Grant hanging up a cross to the far post, where Ricardo Kip sent an audacious volley narrowly wide.

Fleetwood were a regular threat on the counter-attack and they did extend their advantage on 27 minutes. The pace of Hunter was a constant problem for the Southport defence and, after being played in by Grant, he outpaced the home back-line before guiding his shot past Belford.

The League One side almost added a third with another sharp break before half-time, Hunter sending an angled shot just wide after Josh Thompson was dispossessed.

Fleetwood scored again just after the hour, Grant spotting Belford off his line and lifting the ball over the Southport goalkeeper from just inside the Southport half.

The Sandgrounders reduced the deficit on 74 minutes, as summer signing Ross White headed in a free-kick from Louis Almond at the far post.

Gary Jones shot wide after a scramble in the Fleetwood area, as did Connor McCarthy from a Neil Ashton free-kick, but this was a comfortable win for the visitors.

Southport play their final pre-season friendly at home against Everton under 21s on Sunday, kick-off 2pm at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.

Southport: Tyrell Belford(Ryan Crump 46), Ross White, Neil Ashton (Michael Carberry 68), Josh Thompson (Joe Kearns 46), Keil O’Brien (Brian Summerskill 89), Jamie Allen (Connor McCarthy 61), Ashley Grimes (Ben Jago 46), James Gray (John Cofie 46), Louis Almond, Jonathan Royle, Gary Jones

Attendance: 349

Referee: Joe Johnson

Report by Alan Jones

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