Southport manager Liam Watson has praised his defence as the unsung heroes in their recent run.
They ended 2021 in sixth as they romped to a 4-0 win over Farsley Celtic following on from their stalemate away from Curzon Ashton.
Back-to-back clean sheets meant they conceded just once in the month of December.
A brace for both Jordan Archer and Jack Bainbridge had the points all but sealed in the first half against Farsley.
The three points extended Port’s unbeaten run to 11 games with their last defeat dating back to the start of October.
With the strikers and goalscorers earning the plaudits, Watson highlighted the work of his defence in light of the recent run.
“I think what’s more pleasing is the two clean sheets. We conceded one goal – and I still don’t think that crossed the line up at Blyth – in the whole of December in six games, so it’s really pleasing,” he told Off The Park. “I know people are getting good press for the goals but under the radar we’ve become defensively really good.
“We looked exciting going forward, good pace, Archer was good, Jack Bainbridge was bombing on played Jack a little bit higher, Niall [Watson] was really lovely and Isaac [Buckley-Ricketts] was busy. The front four were lively which was good but Charlie Munro ran the game, he was our best player.”
Boxing Day saw the Sandgrounder’s play out a goalless draw with fellow play-off hopefuls.
Adam Lakeland’s side were reduced to 10-men midway through the second half with Watson admitting the difficulty of the game increased despite the man advantage.
“You play twice in three days, it’s not easy, never is. But it was nice because the Curzon game was a tough game,” he continued. “I wouldn’t say we played overly great especially in the first half we didn’t, the second we had 25 minutes where we looked like we were going to score then they had a man sent off and it seemed to fall away a little bit.
“But you’d of took a point all day long, we needed to back that up with a win. When we can relax a bit in the second half and conserve a bit of energy it’s good.
“I think Curzon are a better team than Farsley, they were good in the first half, they had a lot of the ball but never really hurt us massively.
“Second half when we got on top of them and how we play, we had them penned in for a good spell but on the balance of play, a draw is a fair result. A point away from home, a clean sheet then you’ve got to back it up at home which we did.”
Sunday sees Southport host Curzon in their second meeting in a matter of weeks.
A win could see Port jump into fifth ahead of Kidderminster Harriers but Kiddy will have played three games less by the time they welcome Farsley Celtic on January 11.
The Nash suffered disappointment last time out as they were edged out in a seven-goal thriller with Chorley but the 51-year-old knows his side will be have to be at their best to maintain their run and kick 2022 off with a win.
He added: “We’ve got to make sure we pick the same side, we have been changing the team around, people have been getting a rest here and there which is massively important.
“Trying to keep ones [sic] on their toes when they come in making sure we get the proper work ethic from there. I think they’ve all bought into it because it is a small squad.
“They were winning 3-2 late on and then succumb to a 4-3 defeat, it’ll be a stiffener but Curzon are a good side make no bones about that and we’ve really got to be at it to make sure we get something.”