Southport manager Liam Watson has described their performance in the 3-1 defeat to Kidderminster Harriers as poor.
The Sandgrounders suffered their seventh consecutive loss as their miserable run continued at the hands of Russ Penn’s side.
Port remain three points clear of the relegation zone going into the final game of the season where they travel to already-relegated Leamington.
Ashley Hemmings scored twice with Amari Morgan-Smith also on the scoresheet in their triumph as Charlie Oliver netted for the hosts.
Speaking after the defeat, Watson told Off The Park: “Really poor performance-wise, ultimately with Blyth losing that’s us more or less mathematically safe so it gives us a big summer in place. We know where we are.
“There’s good news coming out of the club on Monday which other people and I have worked our socks off to get this over the line, bringing good investment into the club. We’ll be able to strengthen the squad and strengthen the team.”
It took within 30 seconds of kick-off for Kiddy to open the scoring as Hemmings’ left-footed effort nestled in the back of the net with help from the inside of the post.
The season edges towards its close and it hasn’t been short of problems on and off the pitch at Haig Avenue. Injuries and suspension hampered availability for Southport as Finlay Heath returned to the squad for their final home game of the campaign.
“What do you expect?” He said on the calamitous start. “The whole team talk was about making sure you do things right, start bright, the first thing you do it right. We didn’t deal with a long ball in, ducked out of tackle then there’s a shot from 25 yards out which has hit the inside of the post and went in.
“They were too strong [in the end]. You look at the team we’ve put out, we’re bringing on 17-year-old’s, it’s not right, compromise the players, we’ve given ourselves a tough ask but it’s been driven by finances with where we are and what we have to do.
“We can say we got to where we are and got another year in this league, from the first day of pre-season it’s been horrific, it’s been toxic all the way through the course of the season.
“Season’s like this, trust me, teams get relegated and somehow we’ve managed not to get relegated. Ian [Kyle] has to take an unbelievable amount of credit for what he’s done to ride by it but us as a group of directors, as a club, these people don’t understand how hard’s it been and probably don’t want to.”
Southport’s last win came away at Scarborough Athletic when Tyler Walton’s goal proved to be the difference. Since then, they’ve endured a run of seven straight defeats but they would need to lose on the final day plus an eight-goal swing to succumb to relegation.
Amid the circumstances, Watson admitted his players let him down on Saturday. He added: “Of course it has [been a bad run] but you see the team now, we’ve got no Keenan Quansah, Declan Evans, Jack Doyle or Jordan Archer.
“We’ve never replaced Cam [Mason] but Tony has done admirably well, he’s 41, we’re bringing 17-year-old’s on – not from our academy, from Steven Gerrard’s Academy. Don’t get me wrong, they’re two talented players who will have good careers but there’s an awful lot of players out there who have let me down throughout the course of the season.
“They’ve let themselves down but sometimes, as they say, if you keep doing the same things you get the results, ultimately I’ve not had much choice but I’ve only got what I’ve got and you have to do the same things, it’s true you get the same results.
“We lost our big summer signing in pre-season to a cruciate knee injury, got Marcus [Carver] back on loan, got him firing then he got recalled yet he never plays,” he added. “Jordan [Archer] has only started 22 games and has scored 10, he’s missed an awful lot of football and he’s our go-to man when it comes to goals.
“We haven’t scored enough goals and we don’t look like scoring goals, we’re relying on set-pieces or a penalty which has never been one of my teams. We’ve always scored goals, probably gamble and concede a lot more, it’s not been the case.
“When I say I’ve been managing and playing [football], I’m 52 and I started my career at 20, that’s 32 years, this is by far the worst ever season that I’ve ever encountered in my life.
“Everything which could go wrong went wrong, some crazy decisions against us, we’ve had six letters from the FA apologising for refereeing decisions. It’s traumatic but we’ve got through, we just need to crack on and rebuild the team because for two years we’ve tried and tried to rebuild the club and I think we have.
“We’re more or less there so we need to rebuild the team then when we come back, we’ll look at the management side of the club, we haven’t had an assistant since Terry left, that needs to be addressed. We need more youth, vigour and enthusiasm and we need a top coach, that’s what we’ll do.”