Liam Watson offers Southport verdict ahead of Leamington test but Daisy Hill win poses concerns as George Newell returns

Southport manager Liam Watson

Southport manager Liam Watson has praised his side after they made it back to back National League North wins with a resounding win over Boston United.

However, problems arose in the Lancashire Junior Cup win over Daisy Hill for the Port boss despite progressing thanks to second half goals from Connor Woods and a Niall Watson brace.

An update was also provided on George Newell as the forward returns to action following a devastating leg break last year.

The Yellows ended their disappointing start to the season with a win over Darlington before two wins and a draw saw them move up the table and away from the drop zone.

Marcus Carver netted a hat-trick in the win over The Pilgrims as Jordan Archer got himself on the scoresheet but it was a contrasting performance to the one that saw them beat Chester 3-2, Watson admitted.

“Fair play to them [his players], even when they had kicks in the teeth against them like refereeing decisions went against them they never let their heads drop,” he told Off the Park.

“The performance had always been good, I always knew the results would turn now we have to focus on that performance level remaining the level it has been.

“I think the turn changed by getting the rub of the green in sport, sometimes you need a bit of luck and we wasn’t having it at the start. We’ve changed that shots that were hitting the bar are now going in, so all good.

“We should be higher than where we are [in the table] but other people might say that, it is what it is. All we have to be is consistent and try put a run of results together, if you can put two, three, four wins together you’ll rapidly climb up the table when you’re looking at the bottom, all of a sudden you’re very much looking at the top seven.

“I don’t think we were at our best on Saturday but we had a game plan which we’d change towards the end which we did and when we changed we did run over them.

“The game was pretty tight, not much in it, Marcus [Carver] obviously got a goal then Jordan Archer with a good header so we got the upper hand by scoring. Certainly a week before, 3-2 flattered Chester, 4-1 flattered us but two good back to back wins for Southport.

“Any forwards only as good as the service he gets and Marcus had a lean spell last year, this year a spell where he’s flying – it’s like of a centre forward.

“You’ve got to give him credit because even when Marcus doesn’t play well he gives a proper shift works hard so really happy for him getting all the luck he deserves and long may it continue.”

With the fixtures beginning to pile up, Watson confirmed there would be no new additions to follow Liam Edwards through the door after the defender arrived – on loan from Bolton – after the injury to Chris Doyle.

Whilst the Sandgrounders manager confirmed that returning forward, Newell, requires first-team football away from Haig Avenue after suffering a double leg fracture in 2020.

“We brought Liam Edwards in last week and George Newell is coming back, could do with letting George go out and play – he’s been out a very long time – to get his sharpness. Sometimes it’s different with a forward you need a little bit of brightness and we’ve got good options in the final third, George needs six or seven games so I’ll need to look at that.”

A midweek clash with Daisy Hill raised questions for Watson as the Port manager rued a poor first half which could’ve come at a cost in their pursuit of the Lancashire Junior Cup.

“It’s the mentality, they’ve got to understand about consistency and not liberties. I thought we were really poor against Daisy Hill on Tuesday in the Lancashire Cup however they managed to turn it round and get a win which they should’ve done anyway but it was an element that I wasn’t happy about.

“It was like ‘we don’t have to work as hard as these because they’re below us in the pyramid’ they’re the games you have to work even harder.

“The good thing is they did what I asked them to do. To go in 1-0 down at home and you’re thinking ‘listen give another one up, you ain’t getting back in this’ and what I said was ‘be bang at it’ second half we did change and we went a bit more forceful.

“They dug in and you thought it was one of them nights obviously Connor [Woods] got a goal and Niall [Watson] to win it and rounded off to make it look a better scoreline.”

This weekend poses a difficult visit to Leamington Spa as they travel to New Windmill Ground for a difficult clash with the play-off contenders.

The 51-year-old spoke highly of his opposite number: “[He’s] probably the best manager at the level, what he does on the budget he has. He’s extremely competitive, it’s a tough place to go, it’s not the nicest place to go. Nice people but it’s windy, wide-open, pitch isn’t the best so we’ve just got to go work incredibly hard and get a result.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

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