Liam Watson explains turnaround with Southport emerging as play-off contenders

Southport goalkeeper celebrates as they score against Guiseley

Southport manager Liam Watson praised the fans and players as the Sandgrounders moved into the play-off positions following back-to-back wins.

Port halted Hereford, who prior to their trip to Haig Avenue hadn’t lost or conceded in five, after goals from Jordan Archer and Connor Woods.

They followed it up with an important win against Guiseley where they picked up their first win and clean sheet away from home after a tricky spell of away games earlier in the season.

But for Watson, the turnaround in form was a matter of when not if as his side continued to put in solid performances with the result finally going in their favour.

Despite claims from the Bulls manager following the defeat suggesting a draw would’ve been a fairer result, the Port boss feels his sides three points were richly deserved.

“We did speak many times when we weren’t getting the wins and I was saying the performances have been really good,” he told Off The Park.

“I have used my experience in the fact of when you’re playing well and not winning, if you’re playing well you will start winning.

“Ultimately that’s what has happened, we get the first win but even before we got the first win, we had tough FA Cup games, we beat Chorley and Spennymoor after replays so there was wins just weren’t getting them in the league.

“We were miles behind in terms of games but now we’ve still got games in hand on the teams above us. We’ve got ourselves in a nice place at the moment. 

“Yeah 100 per cent [deserved], we played the conditions better than they did. I think they thought at half-time because of the way the wind is, we had the wind but the way we play it was always going to be easier for us to play against it, I think they totally undervalued our levels and what we were good at.

“I don’t think they underestimated us, once we kept on getting the ball behind we caused them problems. The work rate resulted in them making errors and we capitalised on their errors so I think we deserved to win, thoroughly deserved it.”

The 51-year-old lauded his players after a recent spell of absentees through injuries and suspensions but still earned three points, adding: “I think the outlook of the season is that it’s a really tight squad, adaptable, they all get along and have a good work ethic.

“When we’re not playing great, we’re grinding results out, there’s a togetherness. Jack Bainbridge has had to move into centre-half with Doug [Tharme] injured, we’ve had where Jack missed three through suspension, Doug’s missed a couple, Chris Doyle’s missed the last few and they’re all big players for us.

“Russ [Benjamin] has been out since the second game of the season so as we go along when we get them back we’re going to become stronger.”

Marcus Carver continued his superb run of form in front of goal with his 11th of the season whilst Josh Hmami scored the all-important second in Yorkshire.

“It was important because we have won an away game but we’ve only played five in the league. In the last one we got a good point against Leamington, then previously we’ve lost to Fylde, Spennymoor, York and Brackley in very very tight games that could’ve gone either way.

“It’s always nice to get your first one and it’s the first clean sheet as well which is important so just got to keep on doing it. 

“The fans have bought into it, we got an amazing following away to Guiseley in those conditions, it’s incredible. It’s been the best year ever in terms of getting back by the supporters at the football club in my time, I’m going back to 2003 this has been the best backing ever.

“We have been lucky enough to win league titles but I’m telling you this, at this moment in time, it’s the best I’ve ever witnessed the fans behind the team and behind the club. They’ve bought into the club, Ian [Kyle] has to take credit for that he’s stabilised the football club from a business side off the pitch.”

For the Yellows, their time on the road continues as they head to the North East looking to spoil Terry Mitchell’s first home game in charge of Blyth Spartans.

“One things for sure, we’ll never disrespect them. It’s hugely important that we believe what we do is right and we’ve got our joy by working hard.

“Whether you’re playing Fylde at the top or Telford, Guiseley or Blyth it doesn’t matter, or even Daisy Hill in the Lancashire, you’ve got to work your socks off. They’ve got a new manager, they lost Saturday but it’s his first home game so the lads are going to have a go for him so we’ve got to be right [up for it].”

[Featured image: Robert Leal]

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