‘We’ve got to react’ – Liam Watson calls for Curzon Ashton response as Southport encounter ‘massive’ Kettering Town test

Southport manager Liam Watson following Kidderminster win

Southport manager Liam Watson has called for a response against Kettering Town after they were dumped out of the FA Trophy by Curzon Ashton.

Jack Bainbridge got the Yellows off to the perfect start when he fired in after three minutes. However, the Nash answered back with three goals to knock consign Port’s cup hopes to the County competitions.

They are back on the road against National League North strugglers Kettering Town. Despite their precarious position in the table, Paul Cox’s side have beaten the likes of Gloucester City, Hereford and Kings Lynn Town at Latimer Park.

The trip to Northamptonshire was an unhappy one for Southport last year as they were beaten 2-1 after Tyler Walton opened the scoring.

Southport return to the road for the first time since the end of October when they overcame Spennymoor Town. Since then, Watson’s side have had six straight home matches, five in the league – picking up eight points.

He told Off The Park: “I think it’s one of the toughest away fixtures that you have during the course of the season, the manager has only been there this season, he had an unbelievable pedigree as a player, it’s a tough, difficult place to go and we’ve got to be at our best to get something out of the game.

‘We seen on Tuesday, you look at Squires Gate and what I would have to say, Squires Gate were better than a lot of teams we’ve played this season, that’s how good they were.

“It wasn’t a game we took easy, we know going to a Conference North team away, we know how difficult it will be make no bones about, we know it will be a tough game.

“We’ve got to get back to what we are, you can give them a walk-over occasionally because not everyone wins every game, we’ve got to react in the right way and I’ve got to pick the right team as well.”

Southport had their chances to add to their lead but failed to do so and the second-half came as a surprise to Watson.

In midweek, they needed penalties to beat Squires Gate but the runout was welcomed by the Yellows manager.

As a result, he now dubs their trip on Saturday as ‘massive’. He added: “We played really well in the first-half but as good as we played in the first-half, we was bad in the second-half, I hadn’t seen that coming.

“I was surprised, I don’t know what I can put it down to but I do trust them, it was good to get a game in on Tuesday to get us back playing and the game come around thick and fast.

“At least we had a response, leads us in to Saturday which becomes a massive game.

“The game should be over by half-time but if you’re not clinical, you put the pressure on,” he said on the defeat to Curzon. “I thought we defended far too deep and there didn’t look like a lot of energy which is bizarre to say the least.

“It doesn’t surprise, it always seems to happen in the FA Trophy and has done for years, even as a player. It’s not one I build my hopes up for because I’ve done that in this competition in the past and it always seems to blow my legs off so I’m not surprised with what happens.”

On Tuesday, defender Finlay Heath was announced as a Southport player after signing on a dual registration from AFC Liverpool.

Speaking on the arrival, he said: “I think he’s got unbelievable potential, I work with him when I do my bits with SG8 (Steven Gerrard’s Academy) so I see how good he is.

“It’ll be good grounding for him, helps with his development, he’s certainly a player we will make sure we use between now and the end of the season, with a view to next season.

“He’s dual-registered so he’s on a form with us, he gets regular playing time with AFC Liverpool which is good. I wouldn’t worry if I had to play him for Southport on Saturday, it wouldn’t worry me.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

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