Derby Day Delight
By Tom Bates
Arrogant display from the lads & hattrick hero Jordan Gregg
Derby weekend again and already the second game vs Hesketh Bank this season. After Hesketh Bank taking all 3 points in the last meeting between the two teams, Southport Hesketh were looking to leave station road with all 3 points this time. With a much changed team from the last meeting between the two sides and both sides going into the game on the back of a defeat, it was going to be a great game.
Phil Norton remained in goal with the back 4 of Kieran Wright, Dan Callaghan, Craig Massam & Jimmy Green. Simon Hill, Luke Smith & Joe Tierney were the engine room with Jon Obrien, Jordan Gregg and a debut for 17 year old Rustam Stephan.
Ste Cooke, Tom Hill, Joe Sturgeon returning from injury & another debutant Dan Singleton were the subs.
This was the first time the blues had visited Hesketh Bank since their new pitch was put down & prior to the game, a minute silence was held for remembrance weekend.
The game did start with Southport on the front foot and the first 15 minutes were played in the Hesketh Bank half, Phil Norton just a spectator at the back. Southport were unfortunate not to have been ahead when Jon O’Brien and Jordan Gregg both missed good chances. Rustam was causing all sorts of problems showing confidence on the ball and the only way to stop him was to be hacked down. The games first card came 20 minutes in as the Hesketh Bank veteran Mike Love collided Rustam with a high elbow & though a free kick was awarded Mike escaped a card and instead it was Simon Hill who picked up the fine after protesting with the referee. On the half hour mark Southport went ahead. Dan Callaghan controlled the ball on the half way line and half volleyed a switch of play over to Jordan Gregg. First touch quality, Jordan cut inside and ghosted past 3 players before firing in near post from the edge of the area. 0-1 and the least Southport deserved. It was time to kick on and just a few minutes later, Gregg was given space to turn and drive at the defence from 30 yards who backed off him, although the Bank keeper kept out Jordan’s first effort, he didn’t need asking again and slotted his second with 35 minutes gone. With what seemed like was going to be a field day for the away side, they instead slipped into a comfort zone. Despite Dan Callaghan being a colossus at the back, Si Hill, Joe Tierney & Luke Smith controlling the midfield, Southport dropped 5 yards to see it out to half time. However Hesketh Bank got a new lease of life and a deep cross from their left hand side fell to the right back who smashed home a life line minutes before half time. 1-2.
Yes it wasn’t great conceding before half time but Southport were well in control, Luke winning all the first balls, Si picking up the seconds and Joe Tierney constantly breaking up play we’re controlling the game and the front 3 were pressing well. It’s what needed to be maintained going into the second half.
However, the home side came out with their tails up and were dominating the first 15 minutes of the second half & once again it was another deep cross from the left which was met back post by the Hesketh Bank striker who hooked the ball home but did have to leave the pitch injured shortly after when over stretching for the goal. Either way, Hesketh Bank we’re back in it at 2-2. Unusually from Southport Hesketh, no panic buttons seemed to hit self destruct. Instead, the game was raised again and Southport went on to dominate the rest of the game. Jon O’Brien saw a shot hit the foot of the post and Jordan Gregg again had a couple more chances to put the game to bed. Southport didn’t have to wait much longer to get their third & it was Gregg who got his hattrick. Luke Smith intercepted play and strode forward and unselfishly squared the ball to Jordan who rifled home into the roof of the net for his hattrick. Dan Singleton came on for Jon Obrien, Joe Sturgeon for Joe Tierney.
Dan Singleton was lively down the right hand side and came close with a chance himself and also tried setting up Rustam for a goal he deserved on his debut. Rustam was then replaced with minutes left for Tom Hill.
Hesketh Bank did come close right at the end when another deep cross was floated in and Tom Smyth climbed highest to head goalwards, however Craig Massam was in the right place at the right time to head off the line.
A great 2-3 win in the end for Southport Hesketh who deserved it on the day. The win now takes them 1 point behind Hesketh Bank with 1 game in hand too.
A very arrogant performance at times from the blues. Something which has been missing in our performances lately so it was good to ensure today was a win. It was hard to chose a man of the match, Rustam was very impressive on his debut, Si Hill put in one of his best performances so far this season, Joe Tierney; ever reliable again put in a major shift & of course Luke Smith won absolutely everything and was box to box all game. However, Jordan Gregg was the hattrick hero and since scoring his first goal a couple of weeks back now has 7 goals in 3 games. Long may this continue.
Next weeks it’s cup action as we host Tempest at Bankfield and look to build on this performance.