Liam Watson offers playoff thoughts as Southport boss makes Hereford FC admission

Southport manager Liam Watson celebrates

Southport manager Liam Watson believes their recent travels played a part in their defeat at Hereford but the Yellows boss says their current position is “false”.

Two second-half goals were enough for the managerless side to pick up a much-needed win as they got off to a promising start to life after Josh Gowling.

As a result, it ended a run of three matches unbeaten following draws against Telford and Darlington plus an important win over rivals, Chorley.

Second-half goals from Chris Doyle and Connor Woods boosted their playoff hopes at the expense of Andy Preece’s side but the defeat in midweek means they remain five points off the top seven.

After a number of postponements, the National League North schedule conjured up six straight away trips against the likes of Blyth Spartans, the Quakers and the Bulls on Tuesday.

Their mammoth journeys caught up on Southport, according to Watson. He told Off The Park: “The last two games we put in a good 45 minutes, the game before at Darlington we put in a good 90.

“Chorley in the first-half, we were indebted to Tony Mac for keeping us in the game, second-half we come out with what Southport’s about, a lot of pressing, lots of aggression and got a couple of quick goals and went on to win the game. Even still, Tony pulled off a couple of great saves.

“On Tuesday night against Hereford, I thought we were the better team and should’ve been in the lead, Josh Miles opened them twice with two outrageous balls and we never took the chances but what I will say is Hereford were better than us in the second-half, it was second-half performance which was lacking intensity, we looked a tired team.

“I don’t make excuses for the lads but I’ve never done this in 20-odd years, never mind as a player, I’ve not done trips to Darlington, Blyth, Hereford in back-to-back Tuesdays, for a non-league player in the north it’s far too much to expect. We’ve only got a small squad so it’s been a tough ask.

“A good first-half just leggy in the second-half, never got going, they were the better team and I thought we weathered it but an individual mistake cost us the game, it is tough to criticise when you see the effort they’ve put in,” the Southport boss added.

Despite sitting five points off of the top seven and in 12th, Watson feels their position is slightly false.

He said: “Our next game is away from home as well so that would’ve been six on the bounce, what people won’t realise when we finish at Buxton we’ve got 10 or 11 home games out of 15 left in the season, it tells you where we are is a little bit false because not many teams will have had hardly any away games left and we haven’t got any away games on a Tuesday night left.

“It’s an old cliche, they sacked their manager on the Sunday, it automatically makes it a more difficult game for us, the players played with a bit of freedom which is what happens when a manager goes. They were better than us in the second-half so I’ve got no complaints,” he concluded on their defeat at Edgar Street.

“Carbo came in for Jack Doyle because he was injured, Charlie Oliver has been nursing with a little bit of an issue – which we think he’s over – but left him out of Saturday specifically for Tuesday,” he explained after making four changes from their win over the Magpies.

“Tyler [Walton] needs minutes, we’ve got to get him up to speed and we knew their left-back who really bombed on, Tyler’s better than Connor [Woods] defensively that’s where I was thinking on that.

“They’re all playing, Connor came out of the team but has scored in the last couple of games, done really well since he come back, he’s got a big part to play in the run-in, got big games to come. We want to win some silverware and want to push as far as we can to get in the playoffs.

“Declan’s [Evans] is injured, Josh [Hmami] is injured, Jack Doyle is injured so I’d like to think, not Dec, Josh and Jack in the next fortnight they should be fit, we don’t play Saturday which I think is a bonus.

“Probably not for the cashflow but it’s a bonus for the legs of the players definitely then we’ve got a quarter-final against AFC Liverpool which is good, we’re going into that game free. Josh Miles is cup tied, that’s a blow, we’ll have as strong a side out as possible against AFC Liverpool and we then go into the Buxton on Saturday which will be different because it’s on 4G.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

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