Jim Bentley breaks silence on Southport decision that left him gutted as plans outlined

Jim Bentley red card Southport

Jim Bentley has admitted he was left gutted by his red card on the Southport touchline as he apologised for the ‘harsh’ decision.

The 47-year-old was sent to the stands in the first-half of their goalless draw with National League North league leaders Tamworth.

Assistant manager Andy Burgess took his place on the touchline with the former Rochdale manager now facing a possible fine and touchline ban for his gamesmanship against the Lambs.

Bentley admitted that retrospective action is rare in his managerial career and apologised if the rules changed during his time away from the hot seat.

“I was gutted I got sent off, in my defence, I’ve only been sent off once in my managerial career – I’ve never been booked,” he told Off The Park.

“I have done that quite a few times and if the rules have changed since I’ve been out of the game, I can only apologise but I think it was harsh. I wasn’t able to watch the rest of the game, I’m going to face a possible fine and suspension.”

Port’s unbeaten league run would continue under Bentley as they held the leaders to a goalless draw.

Jamie Willetts was shown a second yellow card for Tamworth four minutes into the second-half but the man disadvantage seemed to revitalise Andy Peaks side, something that disappointed the Southport manager.

He added: “I’ve watched the game back, at 11 v 11, I thought we were the better side playing top of the table.

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“When they went down to 10 men, they got stronger which can happen, we have seen it happen in the Premier League, but Tamworth come on and I don’t think we managed the game as well as we should have.

“We didn’t keep the ball well enough, we didn’t move their defensive shape and that disappointed me a bit but it’s a sign of the times, when the lads come in disappointed, it seemed like we lost the game but I had to remind them when I come in, we were rooted to the bottom and two wins never took us out of the bottom four.

“We’ve now taken 10 points from 12 and there’s lots to be proud of, we stay unbeaten, wanted three points but it’s important that we never lost the game because ultimately we could have late on. It’s pleasing to stay unbeaten, we’ll continue to try keep that unbeaten.”

There is now a layoff for Southport with the FA Cup continuing this weekend. Northern Premier League Premier Division side Morpeth Town brushed past the Sandgrounders to book their place in the third qualifying round.

They travel to fellow step three side Whitby Town which means Southport return to action on October 7 when they travel to Bishops Stortford.

Bentley admits he’d rather be in cup action but is looking to utilise their time on the training ground wisely.

He continued: “I’d rather be playing in the FA Cup if I’m honest but when these situations arise, you need to use it for the best of the team so I’ll be watching games Saturday, training Tuesday and Saturday morning.

“We’ll be using it as a time to improve fitness levels, get the lads together, work on little things but ultimately, it’s finding different ways to make us better for the next block of games.

“We’ve got an opportunity now, four training sessions before the next, you’ve got to do what you can to improve any aspect of the game and we’ve highlighted what we’re going to work on.”

Freddie Sass joined Macclesfield on loan last week as he became the third temporary outgoing at the Big Help Stadium.

Sam Billington and Connor Heath swapped the coast for Bamber Bridge and Nantwich Town, respectively. Bentley admits they are looking to further bolster their squad but their movement will have to be within the restraints of the club. 

“We’re always striving within the budget restraints, I’m in daily contact with the chairman,” said Bentley.

“There’s three or four who have gone out and we’ve brought three in, I’d still like to try and improve us, bring bodies in and fresh faces.

“If we can identify someone that can improve us we’ll go to the chairman, if it can be done then great but if you can’t you have to take it and move on.

“We haven’t got a bottomless pit of money, we’ve got to balance the books and live within our means but if anyone can be brought in that can improve us we’ll certainly look to do that.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

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