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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 07 Apr 12 at 17:02 PM

FULL TIME: SOUTHPORT 1-2 HARRIERS

Harriers took their place back in the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off places as for the second week running, an injury-time strike saw them seal a 2-1 win - this time at rivals Southport.

 

The windy conditions that met the start of this game were a stark contrast to the warm weather of recent weeks but the visitors' start was warm enough - Anthony Malbon seeing a shot blocked inside the area and Steve Guinan driving just over all inside the first six minutes.

 

Soon after home goalkeeper Tony McMillan was forced into a sharp save as Dave Hankin smartly picked his spot before firing towards the near-post with a shot that very nearly crept home.

 

With 16 minutes on the clock Hankin's deep cross should have been met by something far more threatening than a Southport clearance but that prompted a neat counter-attack that gave the Port the lead - Andy Owens twice took the ball past Luke Jones before crossing to Alan Moogan who'd made an unchecked run into the box to fire home.

 

Less than three minutes later more poor defending allowed Southport in and it should have been 2-0 as Tony Grau let fly with a volley that Tony Breeden did exceptionally well to parry away.

 

As the half wore on, Southport's commitment certainly could not be faulted but on on more than one occasion, full-bloodied challenges were more than a little rash and late, McMillan then forced into another save as Jack Byrne won a ball and hit a first-time cross.

 

On 33 minutes McMillan was well and truly beaten as Marvin Johnson went close - the winger's effort from the edge of the area was dangerous and curling and only missed the upright by a matter of inches.

 

Southport remained a threat and six minutes before the break Breeden again denied them a second - the defence stood off Shaun Whalley as he powered through the Harriers half before firing towards goal and only narrowly being kept out.

 

Two minutes later Harriers found themselves on level terms and it was a beauty of a goal - a switch of play to release Vaughan seemed to catch Southport off guard and as he dropped a deep, deep ball into the area, Malbon pounced and took a touch before slamming the ball into the corner of the net.

 

On the back of the goal Harriers began the second period well and inside the first ten minutes they'd seen big penalty appeals turned down and an effort hooked off the line as they looked to mount a spell of pressure.

 

Just after the hour the first reds' change of the day arrived as Steve Guinan was withdrawn in favour of fellow hit-man Ryan Rowe, and just after a looping header from Southport's Owens went just wide.

 

On 66 minutes the home side had their first real opening of the half as the defence again stood off Whalley and allowed him to the edge of the area before he curled an effort at Breeden that fizzed just off target.

 

The second period was, by some distance, scrappier than the first and neither side managed to fashion together a real passage of play, Southport perhaps the closest with a succession of corners going into the final quarter hour.

 

Harriers forced a dangerously-placed free-kick with just four minutes remaining though sub Nick Wright could only fire it off target before Karl Ledsham struck one from distance up at the other end.

 

A draw, if truth be told, would have probably have been a fair result but Harriers keep going until the very end and they were rewarded for that once again here with another dramatic winner. The ball bounced around in the Southport area and it looked as if an attempted clearance struck Luke Jones on the knee and sailed back to goal and past a frozen McMillan.

 

Fair? Maybe not. A 'lucky' goal? - I couldn't really give a monkey's left leg. It was a winner - and my, how big a winner?

 

We shall see.

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