Liam Watson coy on play-off talk as Southport eye FA Trophy progression

Southport score against Hereford in the National League North

Southport manager Liam Watson insists his side aren’t getting carried away after extending their winning run as their play-off push continues.

Their task against Blyth Spartans was made harder as Michael Liddle’s effort before the break was deemed to cross the line.

It means that the Sandgrounders had to overcome a two-goal deficit and score in the first half for the first time this season.

Niall Watson and Marcus Carver did just that as it took just 60 seconds to take the lead over the struggling North East side.

Although Watson had his suspicions over the integrity of the Spartans first goal, he told Off The Park: “If I’m brutally honest, I don’t think we did concede, I don’t think the ball was anywhere near crossing the line. It’s a typical decision you get up in the North East.

“It’s a monsoon you could hardly see across the pitch yet the assistant manages to see through about 20 players and said it crossed the line.

“On the performance, we deserved to be getting beat no doubt about it but the players reacted and ground out a really three points. I think we’re the only team to play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, every game has been in horrendous conditions so I’ve got nothing but praise for our players.”

Carver’s rich-vein of form in front of goal continued as he stabbed home what proved to be the winner after Watson brought Port level.

The 51-year-old praised his players for their work for the goals and their work ethic in torrid conditions.

“Well they’re not the prettiest, but if anyone’s actually looked at the set-play, they’ve seen that out four big attackers of the ball and not one attacked it,” he said. “If you look back, you’ll go ‘oh wow’ we never attacked it, Josh [Hmani] just happened to put the ball exactly where we want it, it enabled Marcus [Carver] where they’re thinking he’s doing the goalkeeper, pulls off and it’s him who scored.

“But to do it twice in 60 seconds was a bit unreal. 

“I’ve been made up. Even if we wouldn’t of won Saturday, I couldn’t have asked for more over the last four weeks. The amount of work the lads have put in, it’s really, really testing conditions I’ve been feeling horrendous and I’m not playing so god knows how they’re feeling. 

“It’s doesn’t do anything for our aspirations [being in the play-offs] our aspirations would be we want to compete and do the best we can. It’ll only tell us come what May whether we’ll be good enough to finish in the top seven but there’s no pressure of us.

“We can play with freedom, we’re not expecting to be in the play-offs, we never thought we would be in the play-offs and especially after the start we had, everyone was pointing the fingers but I never got carried away when we were bottom of the league so I’m not going to get carried when we’re going up the league either.”

Saturday provides the Yellows a chance to progress in the FA Trophy as they look to see off Farsley Celtic.

Watson added: “Tough place to go, conditions are really poor but we’ve had some really good results there so might be a lucky ground for us. It’s a game we go into desperately wanting to do well. 

“It’s getting your head round the conditions, the pitch is not feasible for good football so it was no big surprise that Fylde, who are a footballing side, struggled in the surface.

“They’re a big side, they play for set-pieces and you’ve got to show the ugly side of you which could be said about us, we’re a big side, we tend to score quite a lot from set-plays.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin via Southport FC]

For enquiries: @OffThePark_