April 12, 2015
(The Sandgrounders Official Site Point Of View.)
A crowd of 8,251 at the Memorial Ground set a new record for the biggest attendance to have watched Southport in a Non-League match.
But they did not see the Sandgrounders cause an upset as Paul Carden’s side conceded at the start of each half to lose against title-chasing Bristol Rovers.
Ellis Harrison and Matty Taylor were on target as Southport suffered a third straight defeat, leaving them six points above the relegation zone with three matches of the Vanarama Conference season remaining.
With a six-match unbeaten run during March, it looked as though Southport had completed the hard work in their quest to remain in the division.
But the one win that would take them to the coveted 50-point mark has proved elusive, meaning Carden’s side now face a crucial match at home to Braintree Town on Tuesday night.
“It was always going to be a very tough game but with the squad we had available we were down to the bare bones,” said manager Carden.
“Our team basically picked itself because they were the only 11 we had available and fit.
“The lads put in a good, honest shift. We made a mistake for the first goal and against a Bristol Rovers side who don’t give much away we were up against it after that.
“I thought we kept plugging away. At times we did lack some composure with our passing and we could have been a bit brighter but I’m not going to criticise the lads.”
After an even opening, Rovers took the lead on 11 minutes. Defender Tom Davies slipped as he went to intercept a through ball from Andy Monkhouse, leaving Harrison to capitalise with a decisive finish from eight yards.
The home side then took control but only occasionally did they look like extending their lead. Chris Lines shot wide at the end of a flowing move before Mark McChrystal headed wide from a Lee Brown corner.
Rovers added a second five minutes after half-time, Taylor pouncing from close range to head home a left-wing cross from Adam Dawson.
They could scored a third when Harrison brought a finger-tip save from Port goalkeeper Tony Thompson, while no player could get a touch to a wicked ball played across the face of the Southport goal by Monkhouse.
Southport, for their part, were restricted only to half-chances. Steven Hewitt was denied by goalkeeper Will Puddy in the first half, before Paul Rutherford and Charlie Joyce shot wide as the game progressed, but the contest was long since over.