Another late equaliser for the sky blues
By Tom Bates
Southport rue missed chances but earn a point
3rd game of the season, 3rd game in 1 week, Saturday 11th August. Southport Hesketh made a short journey to Burscough Richmond, a local derby which was going to prove to be a battle.
Despite only facing Burscough Richmond a few weeks earlier in a pre season friendly and winning 3-1, this game would be totally different. The pre season fixture seen Southport Hesketh at full strength, with Burscough Richmond missing players. Today’s league fixture was the opposite. With many players away on holiday, carrying knocks from so many games in quick succession and other lads with Work commitments, Southport Hesketh changed to a 3-5-2 formation for this game. This was a formation we had not played in possibly over 12 months, so it was going to take some getting used to.
Kieran Lovelady made his first start of the season in a back 3 alongside Andy Dawber and Craig Massam, with Jimmy Green and Kie Wright occupying the flanks. Simon Hill and Jesse Dowling kept their places in the middle of midfield, Jack Ledson came in to partner them as he loves playing against Burscough Richmond. Leading scorer Conor Wright was partnered upfront by Jordan Gregg.
The game started very scrappy, although Burscough seen the majority of the Ball in the opening 10 minutes. Not many chances to threaten Liam Buckley in goal however. Past the 10 minute mark, Southport Hesketh seemed to get a foot hold of the game and the formation understanding was going well. A great chance 15 minutes in fell to Jordan Gregg, some neat interchange between Jimmy & Jesse, allowed Jesse to get into the area and his cut back was stepped over by Conor Wright as the ball fell to Jordan Gregg, he couldn’t keep his effort low enough as it raised over the crossbar.
Gregg & Wright were linking up well upfront & both faired similar in their work rate, closing down the Richmond back 4 and winning the Ball back, this time again some neat footwork from Wright saw the ball with Jordan Gregg who fired wide.
Richmond kept plugging away and seen a few long range efforts saved well by Buckley. The closest Burscough seemed to come was from a deep cross which was tipped away by Liam, for the follow up to be smashed straight at him from close range. Not many other chances to talk about in the first half as both sides went in goalless at the break.
The second half started with Burscough Richmond looking the most likely to score. Southport couldn’t retain possession well enough and each time they did have it, it was given away far too cheaply. The movement off the ball was fading out. The sky blues were becoming very frustrated with the Refree as the game became stop start and for a brief spell, the ref went card happy, seeing Jordan Gregg, Kieran Wright, Jack Ledson & Craig Massam go into his book.
Midway into the second half, Simon Hill was replaced by Josh Martin as Si had to leave for personal commitments. Again, proving how light we were to be today. Not long after the change, Burscough got a goal. A miss timed tackle in the middle of the park allowed Burscough to break down their left hand side, the ball eventually being pulled back to the edge of the area and an effort from 18 yards out took 2 deflections on its way past the diving Buckley. A goal against the run of play which maybe Southport needed to raise their game.
Again, as the half went on, both teams were very wasteful in possession, the Ball spending a lot of time out of play or down for a restart of play through silly fouls. Jimmy Green was replaced by Lewis Harwood for the final 12 minutes as Southport reverted to a 4-4-2, pushing Jesse upfront, Jordan & Lewis occupying the flanks.
Into injury time and Lewis fed Jesse into the channel who won Southport Hesketh a corner. A deep in-swinger seemed goal bound from Conor Wright, helped on its way by Kieran Lovelady, the Ball was cleared off the line and as it fell to Josh Martin on the edge of the box to strike, the Ball hit a Richmond hand in the area. Although it may have seemed debatable, the letter of the law states a hand cannot be in an un-natural position, therefore a penalty was awarded to Southport Hesketh. Leading scorer Wright stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and score his 4th of the season in 3 games.
Overall, a point probably a fair result. A game of 2 halves; definitely. A game marred slightly by being far too stop start for both teams also. However, positives to take for both teams. It was also good to see 2 local teams who love to play football on a very good surface. However, just sometimes, you wish assessing officials didn’t put so much pressure on the man in the middle and allow a game of football to be played.
Den Hill & Tom Bates’s thoughts at the end were that; “there was many positives to take. The key one being 1 down for quite a period of time, we battled to get a point, so to come away with 1 point is better than 0. It’s a hard place to come as you know BR will always battle, especially in a local derby. However, we know we need to improve again. We need to start putting the work rate in we did in pre season games to get 3 points. We’ve got to be a lot more dangerous and clinical in the final third.”
Goalscorer: Conor Wright
MOM: Andrew Dawber
Hopefully those 3 points come against Blackpool Wren Rovers who we welcome to Bankfield Lane on Tuesday night. With more lads to come back and strengthen the squad for Tuesday, it’s a game we will look forward too and again, 2 teams who love to play attacking football, the fixture always see’s plenty of goals.