SOUTHPORT 2 – 7 KESWICK WEST CUMBRIA
COOK x 3
OWEN x 2
Having collected maximum points from the opening trio of games, KWC travelled to Southport looking to extend their perfect opening to the new campaign against a side who have yet to get off the mark.
KWC are the current front runners on goal difference whereas Southport find themselves in an early relegation battle after 3 successive defeats although in all instances, the result suggested closely contested fixtures.
The West coast Cumbrians fielded a strong line up, welcoming back Shaun Wilson but were without Seth Fletcher. Robert Owen retained his place after an impressive debut.
The game began as it would for the rest of the contest – KWC pushed forward and swarmed the Southport half while the home side relieved the pressure whenever they could with a long ball clearance.
The first 15minutes or so seemed to be going to plan for the hosts and a couple of advances on KWC goal were made but Mattear and Fennell remained resilient and eventually the level of pressure the visitors applied paid off. Barnes, who was unlucky not to convert a chance moments sooner, was foiled by the keeper but Rob Cook was the quickest to react in the mêlée and slot home the first.
The lead was soon doubled when Cook again went close but was unlucky to see his effort cannon back off the post but fell nicely into the path of Morgan to picked his moment to strike as the keeper went down and picked his place in the top of the net with neat flick.
Southport continued to soak up the pressure and play their game plan but so did KWC and when Cook tried to set up Owen the ball deflected off the defender and over the line for an own goal and a 3-0 lead going into the break.
After the restart KWC were unrelenting and continued to burst forward in number with every attack as Southport tried to get a hold of the game but when Sloan exploded down the right and cut the ball back to Cook the game was effectively put to bed with a stunning smash into the top corner.
Moments later KWC had their 5th. Swanston drove down the left and was eventually impeded; Owen took control of the free hit and simply advanced on goal without a challenge presenting a free shot which was converted well.
Owen soon had his brace converting from close range after a nice layoff from Swanston and Cook completed his hat-trick with a simple finish after Barnes unselfishly offloaded.
With the result in no danger, KWC seemed to switch off for the remaining 10 minutes and Southport capitalised with two quick-fire goals to give the scoreline a little more credibility.