THIRDS UNSEATED IN FINAL MINUTE
Southport made the trip to Widnes on Saturday looking for an eighth win in a row and spirits were high. Skipper James Doran reports.
With a strong wind blowing and skipper James Doran losing the toss Widnes decided to play against it in the first half.
Joe Spencer started the match and the kick off was chased well the forwards were working hard getting to the breakdown trying to turn the ball over. The Widnes pack was full of running with some big lads but Southport were up for it and not missing a tackle.
The first score went to Southport through the boot of Fitzpatrick after Widnes were found to be killing the ball on the floor.
From the restart the Southport caught the ball and shipped it to the backs to let them have a run. Spencer made a great break down the wing and with the covering man took an extra step which resulted in him pulling his hamstring which meant some reshuffling in the back line.
Widnes made good yards through their forwards and found the prop on the wing to make a break brushing of tackles finally caught and bought down found support on his inside for him to off load in the tackle and a simple run in for the centre to score under the sticks.
The game carried on in way for most of the first half and things got a little tasty with the home team's prop and hooker trying to swing at anything that ran at them. Fitzpatrrick added another penalty before Southport scored a try. Doran took a tap on the Widnes 22 passed it to Peter Dolan who headed towards the line before being held up. Doran was on hand to ship the ball to John Roberts who side stepped his way through the defence to score just right of the posts, Conversion added by Fitzpatrick and Southport took a 13-7 lead into half time.
The team talk was simple; carrying on playing the rugby the team had been doing and do not kick as we were now playing into the wind.
The second half kicked off and the scores stayed as they were Widnes again making strong runs with Southport defending and not missing tackles. The home side was reduced to fourteen men when the second row was deemed to be killing the ball again. But Southport could not make the extra man count.
The lineout was working well and Southport were driving well towards the line but could just not get over it.
Again Widnes were reduced to fourteen men this time for the number 8 not rolling away and not allowing the quick play of the ball Southport were looking for.
With 78 minutes on the clock it looked like Southport were heading for eight in a row. Widnes took the ball into contact and as the scrum half collected it at the back Doran was deemed off side but had also kicked the ball through without hearing the whistle. The ref had no option but to give him a yellow. From the resulting penalty Widnes ran the ball towards the try line being held up just short Southport again were penalised for not releasing. The scrum half took the tap and released the forwards to crash over to bring the score to 12-13 conversion made the score line was now 14-13.
Time for the restart Roberts took the kick long it bounced between two Widnes players and allowed the one of the other players to attempt to pick it up and knocking to enable the ref to call time.
Southport were unlucky not to win the game and the performance was outstanding.
Last game of the season this weekend home to West Park where Southport only just lost earlier in the season.
Man of the Match went to John Roberts
Tries: John Roberts
Conversion: Jason Fitzpatrick
Penalties: Jason Fitzpatrick x2