FIRSTS AVOID INNER CITY BLUES
By Graham Ellis
It was more Pop than Pep but 4 points in the bag as captured by Mike Smith and Tom 'I've got a new toy' Peacock.
Southport travelled down the M62 last Saturday to face Manchester Medics. Despite playing in the shadows of the Etihad Stadium, the home side languish at the opposite end of their respective league table to their city neighbours. However not a side to be underestimated, as the visitors soon found out.
Indeed, it was Manchester Medics who started with real purpose, aided by a string of Southport penalties, and within five minutes the home side had been held up over the line before the forwards found a way over it, crashing though the Southport defence. The early wake-up call seemed to stir the visitors, and Southport immediately responded from the restart, after a determined Tom Hill chase saw the winger drive his opposite man into touch and set up an attacking lineout. Despite losing the throw, excellent foraging from skipper Joe Mawdsley won the ball back, and quick hands allowed Josh Crtichley to find Hill for a clinic finish in the corner, Charlie Attis converting from the touchline to level the scores.
But poor discipline was Southport’s undoing again, as another penalty was marched forward 10m to give a kickable penalty, well converted by Medics. And another two penalties later, conceded at the scrum and the ruck respectively, and Medics were gifted an easy three points in front of the sticks, duly taken. However, once again Southport responded, setting up good field position with an attacking scrum, allowing Josh Critchley to attack from the base, and the back row forward showed his strength as he powered over the line unstoppable. And as the half came to a close, Southport started to dominate the contest, putting together several good passages of play, only thwarted by Medics infringing, allowing Attis to again dissect the uprights, giving the visitors a slender lead at the break. Half time: Manchester Medics 13 Southport 15.
The visitors increased their lead early in the second half, courtesy of anther Attis penalty. However, Southport were then reduced to 14 men for an infringement at a quick tapped penalty, and Southport had to weather the storm as Medics attempted to force home the numerical advantage. An injury meant that Southport also had to ring the changes in the front row, giving a first team debut to Callum Tootle. The young prop equipped himself well, and was soon in the action, finding a gap and charging through before deftly offloading to Kristian Griffiths in space, setting up good field position. And with their numbers restored, Southport eventually found their way across the Medics line, again following good build-up play, sucking in the defence, before Dan Cresswell was given space on the right. The winger broke through the last tackle and powered over the line, giving Southport an unassailable lead, and despite it not being a vintage performance, a solid away win. Final score: Manchester Medics 13 Southport 23
Injured team mate Tom Peacock was also on hand with his Brownie to get some great action shots which can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/tompeacock94/media_set?set=a.10155735256971634.1073741838.600911633&type=3&pnref=story