Southport searching for answers following Farsley Celtic disappointment

Southport players react after Spennymoor defeat

The last of Storm Debi was still in the air but Southport failed to blow Farsley Celtic away as they missed the chance to put pressure on the playoffs.

After two wins and a draw in their last three, Port were looking up – just a matter of games after having the threat of relegation breathing down their necks weeks ago – but there was no back-to-back home wins as they drew 1-1.

Jim Bentley has turned around the fortunes at Southport after taking over with the Yellows meandering in the relegation zone. A handful of points off the playoffs and under the new stewardship of Peter Mitchell and The Big Help Group, the focus is very much on the up PR8.

Hindsight may come into force when Port come to reflect on performances on nights like Tuesday, it may be that they will feel that it was a game that should’ve brought all three points – not one.

The visitors entered the game unbeaten in three, including an impressive win away at Buxton, last time out. 

And it was Clayton Donaldson’s side who took the lead after Ben Atkinson squirmed the ball home after six minutes. 
The ground fell silent as the low in-swinging delivery coasted through a sea of players, nestling in the back of the net off the post.

Despite the game being in its infancy when the Sandgrounders went behind, the hosts were in the ascendancy and enjoying the lion’s share of possession. 

Just nine minutes later, Blackpool loanee Brad Holmes pulled Southport level. The forward drove inside before firing low into the bottom corner. 

As was the case in the first-half, it was Jim Bentley’s side who looked more threatening following the restart. 

While the torrential rain battered The Big Help Stadium, the woodwork was on hand to dampen Southport. 

Harry Flowers had two chances in quick succession, powering a header against the bar before glancing wide. 

Richie Bennett was inches away from opening his Port account, after his arrival on loan from Scunthorpe United. An untimely slip at the back for Farsley provided a sight on goal for Bennett who looped a volley off the crossbar. 

Moments earlier, David Morgan threaded a pass through for Josh Hmami but Harry Allen denied the midfielder. 

Southport goalkeeper Chris Renshaw sprung to thwart a late snatch-and-grab for the West Yorkshire side. A strong right-hand keeping substitute Isaac Robinson at bay in stoppage time.

The National League North remains excruciatingly tight. The point for Southport keeps them in 12th, three points off the playoffs – and just six off the bottom four.

Farsley’s unbeaten run moves them up to a place behind and a point away from the Sandgrounders.

“I feel a little bit disappointed if I’m being honest. It was a good opportunity at home, we’re coming off the back of two wins in a week, we were nearly there today,” Bentley reflected. “We nearly got the winner, we nearly scored, it was all just a little bit of hard luck.

“People are saying to me it’s a decent enough performance but I expect more, we didn’t show that little five percent more – physically, mentally or whatever to get the win. I’m disappointed at the start, I pride myself in being solid from set-plays – the lads have been superb – but the manner in which we conceded was criminal.

“We fought back, we’ve done that a few times, not in the script at home to be losing at that early stage. We got back into the game, let’s go and get a second and third but it nearly happened. We hit the bar twice, we nearly got the rebound, when the ‘keeper spilled one we nearly got it.

“I said to the lads at half-time if we don’t win it, make sure we don’t lose it and Chris (Renshaw) pulled off a good save at the end.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

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