The Daily Post are talking about aiming for a treble of wins against Southport this season, and they’re right to be looking at our matches against them as crucial to this season. Despite our impressive run of form aganst them (if we win our next match against them, whenever that might be, we’ll have established the longest run of wins we’ve managed against them in the history of the 86-match fixture) we should be wary of Southport. They’re better than the stats might suggest, and their canny manager is a big part of that.
First, they stand between us and the semi-finals of the FA Trophy as we enjoy a rare run in the competition. It’s so long since we last had one that the club’s twitter feed even forgot that we’d been in the quarter finals before as it celebrated the emphatic victory over Sutton United in the last round!
Southport are not opposition to take for granted though, and are perfectly capable of solving our fixture conundrum for us tomorrow. Admittedly, we’ve a good recent record against them and stuck four past them at Haig Avenue earlier this season, but I’m a bit of a stuck record when it comes to Liam Watson’s sides. They play some decent stuff, and more importantly are extremely adaptable.
For a part-time side they show a remarkable level of adaptability, are tactically flexible and can therefore cut their cloth according to their needs. They’re the sort of side that are more than capable of formulating and carrying out a well conceived tactical plan for an individual match, making them dangerous cup tie opposition. If you don’t believe me, cast your mind back to how we went out of the FA Cup two seasons ago, or the Setanta Shield two years before that*.
We’ll go into the matches against them as favourites, but make no mistake: they’re perfectly capable of deliver a couple of blows which could stop us in our tracks.
*If you can recall our thrilling Setanta Shield run of 2008 – a 2-1 win in extra time at Altrincham in front of one man and a dog (I know, I was that man), then a 2-1 extra time defeat to Southport with Steve Evans and Sam Williamson both sent off – then you’re even sadder than I am!