‘We needed a proper reaction’ – Southport manager Liam Watson praises Darlington showing as Alfreton Town clash looms

Southport's Jack Bainbridge amongst celebrations after Darlington goal

Southport manager Liam Watson has hailed his side’s response during their win over Darlington after their disappointment against Peterborough Sports.

Spirits were high going into the second game of the season, following their 5-3 win at Boston United, but their hopes came crashing down as the newly-promoted side breezed past Port.

Following the defeat, Watson detailed some of the ‘home truths’ he dealt to his players following their devastating defeat.

“Obviously I was fuming after the game, sometimes you fume about little things that have been building up and bugging me over the pre-season period,” he told Off The Park.

“Sometimes you’ve got to let people know the truth and sometimes let some of the players know you’ve seen things that you’re not happy with that need pulling. It’s the right time and the right place to pull them, at the end of the game on Saturday a few players did get told some home truths.”

Tuesday saw the Yellows pick up their second win of the season in a hard-fought win over promotion contenders Darlington.

Jack Bainbridge’s goal proved to be the difference but the task at hand increased after Tyler Walton was shown a straight red card to give Darlo a man advantage.

But speaking of his delight at the win, Watson said: “I think it was a much-needed response, the performance on Saturday was so out of character for the lads, it was awful.

“We needed to have a proper reaction and it was a proper Southport performance, everyone worked hard, we went down to 10 men after 54 minutes and you wouldn’t have realised it because we worked that hard.

“We went a goal down after 50 seconds and there on it went downhill,” he added on the weekend’s defeat. “The high point (of Tuesday) is that we went 49 seconds without conceding then everything else was a bonus, horrendous.

“Not good enough but it’s gone, if someone offers you six points from the first three games you snap their hands off especially when you look at the fixtures so pleased with the reaction, the character they showed to react, all good. 

“It’s just football, football is all about runs. Sometimes when you come off a run how you’re going to react. I’m not saying we’re on a run because we won one game but it was like a standout win.

“We’ve gone from being 5-0 up against a team who are so-called Champions-elect to within the next half a game and full game conceding six goals without reply, it can’t be more of a turnaround than that.

“To come back after conceding six goals in one-and-a-half games to comeback, keep a clean sheet and defend how we did was an unbelievable turnaround.”

Despite the man advantage, Darlington failed to really test Southport, something which pleased the Sandgrounders boss with the attacking threats that the visitors had.

He continued: “We never got opened that’s the pleasing thing, they had an extra man, they were rolling on forwards like Marcus Maddison who was a couple of million a couple of years ago, Jarrod Rivers who went in the league, Mondal, they had an awful lot of players coming in in attacking options yet they didn’t open us up once which is really, really pleasing.”

Despite his red card on Tuesday, Walton will be available for the trip to Alfreton before his suspension commences.

But when asked about numbers in the squad following the dismissal, Watson didn’t entertain a response. He continued: “We’ll sort that when it comes to it, he’s available for Saturday so get through Saturday then we’ll take stock.

“Tyler’s a great kid, he’s been a massive signing, great impact, he hasn’t got any maliciousness in him, he’s an honest, strong player.

“I would say he misjudged it, can’t argue with the referee, I think he’s made the right decision, he’s gone high but that’s sometimes with a lunge – he hasn’t tried to do him but he’s gone over the ball, no complaints.”

With a trip to Alfreton this weekend, Watson said: “Tough game, always is. Massive long throw, huge players, big size, very direct.

“We’ll have our work cut out but you have to get it down and play, pass it. (We’re expecting) To defend lots of crosses, lots of throws and have a bit of the ball. We need to get on the ball, be brave and make yourselves play – that’s how have to do it. “

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

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