Opening day defeat, but still positives
By Tom Bates
Bogey team haunt Southport Hesketh due to costly errors as sky blues also rue missed chances
Saturday 4th August, First game of the 2018/19 season, new faces, new talking points, disappointing result.
Southport Hesketh welcomed Thornton Cleveleys to Bankfield Lane for the 2018/19 opener, the sky blues’ bogey side for a number of seasons now.
With plenty of lads to choose from and still plenty of big players missing, Southport Hesketh handed a debut to Delial Brewster with Jordan Turner returning to the bench after a 3 year absence.
The game began with both sides trying to find their rhythm early doors but both wasting decent half chances to get an early goal. Eventually, after 15 minutes the deadlock was broken when Craig Massam made a great interception just inside his own half as Thornton looked to counter attack, Mass then lifted the ball over the top to Conor Wright who brought the Ball down and scooped it over the on rushing Goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
The lead lasted just 5 minutes though as Thornton won a free kick 20 yards out & the reds number 8 haunted us again from a set piece as he equalised with a free kick (1-1).
The game turned end to end for a few moments which saw Jon Obrien, Luke Smith, Conor Wright and Delial Brewster all miss good chances to put the blues ahead at half time. Brewster was then brought down inside the penalty area, but somehow was not awarded a penalty. The half turned very stop start for a short period as both teams battled in the middle of the park to try to control the game to their own accord. (HT 1-1)
The second half began a lot better again for the blues with more chances coming their way as Conor Wright went through on goal twice before dragging shots wide. Brewster was causing chaos all first half down the right hand side and in the second half, 55 minutes in, danced into the penalty area and was brought down, this time awarded a spot kick. Last seasons leading scorer, Wright stepped up with confidence but dragged his penalty onto the post, despite wrong footing the keeper. Jon O’Brien then put the rebound wide.
Jonny, Jesse & Delial were causing the Thornton back 4 all sorts of problems linking up together with Conor leading the line alone, and again, chances kept coming but to no avail.
Thornton then began to get a foothold on the game, hitting the crossbar and having a few long range efforts saved comfortably by Liam Buckley in the Southport Hesketh goal. In the 62nd minute, Brewster once again got himself into the penalty area and was brought down again for another penalty. Conor again was the man to put the ball on the spot and this time sent the keeper the wrong way again but seen his 2nd penalty hit the net to put Southport Hesketh 2-1 up, deservedly so. Once again though, at our most vulnerable, the lead lasted just 2 minutes as a free kick was conceded, swung high into the area and despite Si Hill’s effort of clearing the ball, it hit Luke Smith and ended up in the net (2-2). Southport needed a little more fire power into the final 25 minutes and brought on Jordan Turner to try and cause the same problems Delial was, down the opposite flank. However, it was Thornton who got the next goal as a long ball over the top, meant Buckley was to come rushing off his line, the Thornton forward got their first and hit a goal bound shot which was tapped in to an empty net by a reds team mate for (2-3).
Not something Southport deserved, they pushed and pushed for an equaliser, Wright, Brewster and Hill all having efforts saved before Luke Smith was also brought down in the area, when about to lash the Ball home from a corner, but claims of a penalty were waved away by the referee.
Thornton were beginning to control the last 10 minutes and the hardworking Luke Smith was replaced by Brad Shearwood. Southport pushed to a front 4 however caught on the break, in the dying moments, Si Hill then brought down the first Thornton Cleveleys scorer who was awarded a penalty, picked himself up and tucked the Ball away under Buckley, for his 6th goal in 2 games when visiting Bankfield. (2-4) FULL TIME.
Not the result which Southport Hesketh deserved to be honest & Thornton Cleveleys made their own luck courtesy of Southports errors. A game which almost had it all, wasn’t to be the correct result for the sky blues who suffered opening day defeat. However, with plenty of positives and just unfortunately not taking chances at critical moments, there isn’t an awful lot to be down about.
Management staff DH & TB both agreed that “only silly errors have cost us 3 points today and not taking chances at the right end have came back to haunt us. However, it’s a marathon not a sprint & todays defeat gives us a platform to build on, negatives to turn to positives and we still have a lot of players to get involved and to return from holiday and work commitments & with the amount of games we have over the next few weeks, we are going to need everyone to support eachother & work hard at every opportunity. Things can only get better.”
Focus now turns to the next game vs Euxton Villa on Tuesday night and we travel to Runshaw Lane, PR7 6HH, with confidence that 3 points are achievable.
Goalscorers: Conor Wright (x2)
Man of the match: Delial Brewster