Southport boss Liam Watson has discussed the Yellows’ away record ahead of their trip to Farsley Celtic after they squandered a two-goal lead against Gloucester City.
Jordan Archer and Marcus Carver fired Port into the lead before the hosts fired back before Kieran Phillips’ brace secured the three points.
The defeat on the road continued their disappointing record away from Haig Avenue. They travel to Farsley this weekend, a team who narrowly avoided relegation from the National League North last season.
But this time around, they find themselves in a similar situation, just a point away from the relegation zone in the early stages of the campaign.
Watson told Off The Park: “It’s never an easy place to go, your mindset has to be right, they’ve got a really good manager who done an incredible job of keeping them up last year.
“But, they’re down in the bottom reaches, they had an amazing win at Kidderminster, we’ve got to go there and be what we’ve been like against Bradford, Leamington, Darlington and be proactive and get at them.
“You give them the benefit of the doubt, you hope you’ve got a proper referee and you’d like to think they won’t have this questionable thing of what they do because it’s a grass pitch. I do honestly believe the pitch affected the players, he shouldn’t have but it did.”
Their poor record away from home stretches to the last campaign but on the opening day of the season, they proved they can do it as they fired five past Boston United. And the Sandgrounders manager is looking to replicate the outcome.
“To be perfectly honest, you just need that one performance, we know we’ve got it in the locker because we did it at Boston so we know we’re capable of going away and scoring. That’s where we are, hopefully Saturday’s the day,” he said.
Speaking on their defeat last time out, Watson feels despite going two in front the scoreline didn’t match the outcome and rues his side not getting to grips with the surface for an aspect behind the slump.
He added: “I know we took the lead but I don’t think we were playing well but we took the lead through a set-piece, the other ones a really good counter-attacking goal.
“But we hadn’t played well, I thought we struggled to come to terms with the surface, we decided to do the things we were good at because of the surface but I couldn’t stress enough, when I played for Preston we played on an artificial surface so I know how to play the surface and they wouldn’t buy it.
“I said you’ve got to keep putting it in the channels, they wouldn’t, it was pass, pass, pass. Then the referee lost complete control of the game, ended up causing chaos for both sides, we got involved in arguing over decisions and I’ve never seen that side of us before so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
“I was incredibly perplexed with the decisions, so was the lineman who was stood next to us who must’ve apologised on 10 occasions but that’s no excuse, we’ve got to be better. So 100 percent comes down to us why we didn’t win the game and it always looks worse when you’ve got a lead and you throw it away but it’s a shame because it would’ve lifted us to the tip of the play-offs.
“A long way to go, we’ve got to get back on it on Saturday, I’m glad we’ve got a game on Saturday because we weren’t meant to have one – from that point of view, it’s important we really get right, get back to what we’ve been like the last couple of weeks. The most important thing is we’re scoring goals which is hugely important, we’ve got 14 in our last four.
“I just think we got sucked into the chaos created by a poor referee, we didn’t believe what we should’ve been doing when we’re at home, we play a certain way and then when we’re away we’ve got to look at it because our away points per game is not good enough, nowhere near.
“Our home record is really good but or away isn’t so we’ve got play in the same way we do at home rather than being a little bit, I don’t know if it’s conservative or soft. That’s got to change if we’re going to climb up the league.
“I called it at half-time, both teams got so many yellow cards it was just ridiculous,” the Southport manager continued. But when trying to pinpoint where it went wrong for his side, he said: “Sometimes, it doesn’t matter, you say and you say and you say ‘listen you’re going to throw this away if you don’t sort it’ and if they don’t listen to you, they don’t listen to you.
“When I played there was probably times when I didn’t listen, we just thought ‘ah it would be alright’ but it wasn’t, there was so much chaos we’ve fallen into the trap and ultimately we’ve come away with no points rather than all three.”
Connor Heath completed his move from Nantwich Town as Dylan Vassallo followed Connor Woods out of the exit door as they completed one-month loans to Warrington Rylands and Warrington Town respectively.
Watson spoke highly of Port’s latest acquisition and admitted he is a player that they had targeted for a while.
He added: “During the period of time when we lost Marcus, you seen that it’s not as straightforward to go out and get forward, they’re not hanging off trees, good ones aren’t. We’re not in the position to go and buy one, we’ve got to actually find one.
“We’ve been tracking him for a while, he started the season really good. I think it was the time, for his age, he fits our criteria. He’s young, got bags of potential, I think we can make him better. Power, pace, he’s quick, he’s strong, he’s got an unbelievable strike on him, I know he can play wide and down the middle.
“In effect, we needed another forward because Marcus can always be recalled – I’m not saying he will be but he can be – so we need that,” Watson revealed. “We need competition, we’ve got Jordan, Niall, Marcus at the minute, Connor Woods who is out on loan at the minute, needs minutes, we’ve got Connor Heath in the building, I think we’re alright in that position now.
“I’ve seen him play as an attacking midfielder, I’ve seen him play wide right and up front, in my own mind why have I brought him in? I’ve brought him in to be a striker, I think he can be a handful,” he said describing where he sees Heath fitting in.
He could make his debut for Southport against Farsley Celtic this weekend.