FIRSTS BEAT HILLBILLY BLUES
'Port opened 2016 with a home match against 3rd placed Mossley Hill, a team riding high after narrowly losing their last game to leaders Ruskin Park.
Mike Smith reports,
Despite having not played a competitive match for over a month, Southport started brightly, and looked to take on the heavier Moseley Hill forwards up front. This pressure forced mistakes behind the pack, and it was Jake Mann who was first profit, latching on to a wayward pass and finding Tom Hill in support. Hill accelerated through the gap, expertly drew the full back, and supplied centre Jamie Bailey for a simple run in to open the scoring, converted by Mann.
However, Mossley Hill then rallied and showed the form that they had demonstrated pre-Christmas, with their inside centre making hard yards at every opportunity and their outside centre looking to attack wide. However, it was from such possession that Southport were again able to turn defence in to attack. Danny Banks stopped the Mossley centre in his tracks, ripped the ball from his grasp and fed the ball out. Quick hands found Tom Peacock on the right and the winger cut through the defence before finding Hill again in support, before the full back cruised past the last defenders and over the line. With the break beckoning, Mossley Hill elected to kick a long range penalty effort, converting well and reducing the deficit. Half time: Southport 12 Mossley Hill 3.
Mossley Hill started the second half in determined fashion and camped in the Southport half for long periods. Despite missing a penalty kick inside Southport’s 22, they were soon awarded another opportunity straight in front of the posts, and reduced Southport’s lead to six points. And the visitors continued to attack, maintaining good possession for long periods. However, Southport were patient in defence, and when they did get possession they looked dangerous, immediately injecting pace in all quarters. From a relieving Mossley Hill kick, the ball was fielded and shipped to Jamie Bailey and he tracked across the back line before finding Banks who straightened the line, and then found captain Joe Mawdsley in support to finish off an excellent counter attack.
Southport were still showing signs of being a little rusty, occasionally guilty of forcing the attack and giving away possession cheaply. But with time slipping away and the bonus point try seeming to be just out of reach, Mawdsley rallied his troops for one last effort. A stolen lineout from Josh Critchley duly followed, and Banks immediately found Chris Tees on his outside. The centre drew his man and put the ball into the hands of Chris Dresher. With much still to do, Drescher demonstrated his lethal finishing prowess as he powered down the wing and over for a vital score. With the game and points assured, Southport visibly relaxed and produced one more try and the pick of the crop. Peacock took possession inside his own 22 and danced in, out and off several opposition players before setting up Banks. The outside half broke through the line and charged deep into the Mossley Hill half. With defenders now all around him, Banks managed to get a pass away which the supporting Bailey plucked out of the air before crossing the line and finishing off a classy move, converting his own try.
So Southport start 2016 in good health and can look forward to building on this performance in the coming weeks as they get back into top gear.