GEORGES SIDE TAMED!
Mike Smith reports on the first defeat of the season for Southport Firsts away to a determined and dogged Dukinfield.
Southport showed early pressure and might have scored in the first minute of the game, only to be penalised at the back of a driving ruck as it drove over the Dukinfield line. However too many penalties gave Dukinfield a foothold in the game, and a further penalty for a trip at the tackle gave them a man advantage as well, with Dylan Norbury being given an enforced ten minutes rest.
However it was the 14 men of Southport that struck first, when finding some space out wide, and putting Jamie Bailey in to find the gap and use his gas to run around the full back and open the scoring. But yet again a series of penalties saw Dukinfield march back up the pitch and this time, choosing to kick to the corner, they set up a catch and drive, and found space for a forward runner to cross the line for a converted try and the lead. When Southport were not infringing, they showed some promise. A Tom Peacock run from his own 22 set up Chris Tees on his outside only for the winger to be ushered into touch 10m short of the Dukinfield line. However the opportunities were few and far between and possession was at a premium for the Waterloo Rd side.
Dukinfield increased their lead early in the second period with a well struck penalty after Southport were penalised at the back of the scrum. Southport reduced the lead to two points shortly after, with a Jake McMullen penalty after an infringement at the ruck, and shortly later he added a second when the Dukinfield left winger strayed offside, for Southport to regain the lead.
And Southport did create chances. Bailey was held up over the line after another powerful run, and a short time later after a kick and chase through, it was only the post protector that prevented him from adding to the score as the ball bounced off it and away from the centre as he outpaced the defence.
However Southport continued to struggle against the powerful Dukinfield pack, and the pressure crucially told 10 minutes from time, when after numerous drives, the Dukinfield forwards found space on the left to score a well worked try, converted from wide out. With Southport now desperately chasing the game, a forced pass fell to a Dukinfield foot, kicking through to the Southport line. With the chase on, the referee decided that a Dukinfield player diving at the ball managed to get something on it and awarded the try to seal the match.
In truth Dukinfield deserved the win for their determined spirit and control up front, and although Southport showed flashes of class, the lack of possession at the set plays and some uncharacteristic lacklustre performances ultimately caused their downfall. Final score Dukinfield 24 Southport 11.