BRADFORD (Park Avenue) remain second from bottom in the Vanarama National League North and they have now played two games more than some of the relegation rivals after their 3-0 home loss to promotion-chasing Southport was one of just three games in the division to beat the weather.

The ground staff at the Horsfall Stadium were joined by volunteers early in the morning and they worked on the pitch until the match referee arrived two hours before kick off and confirmed that the game was on.

For a long spell it looked as though the efforts would be rewarded by a positive result but Liam Watson’s Southport are lethal and they took the few chances they created, which made it appear to be a comfortable victory.

It was far from that for the Sandgrounders and Avenue manager Mark Bower was pleased with much of the work his players put in. He said: “I thought we were the better side in the first half, and comfortably so.

“We weren’t as good in the second half but we matched them for most of the game and it was just their extra bit of quality in both boxes that was the difference. There were also some big turning points.

“They took the lead from a free-kick that I still don’t what it was given for, their (Southport’s) bench were laughing when it was given.

"Lewis Knight has been penalised for doing nothing and he got booked for it, and then they score from the free-kick.

“In the second half we still got in good areas and Dan Sweeney had a great chance at one end and more or less straight away they go down the other end and make it 2-0 which kind of killed us off really.

“In the three games (since Bower’s return) we have been in every one of them, we’re getting in good areas and creating chances. If we weren’t it would be a worry but we have enough good players and experience in the squad to be competing with these sides.

“The two sides we’ve played at home have both been in the play-offs and Gloucester (who Park Avenue travelled to the previous Saturday) were on a good run and are mid-table because of that run.

"We have matched them all but we are where we are because of the lack of goals and we’re working hard to put that right.”

When Knight picked up his harsh yellow card, for what looked to be a fair challenge 10 yards from the corner flag, Port forward Devarn Green went for goal with the free-kick. Avenue keeper Joe Green palmed it onto his bar but the rebound was headed in by Ryan Astles.

Sweeney’s best chance of the game came just after the hour mark but he fired the ball over the target with only Port keeper Charlie Albinson to beat.

The visitors doubled their lead soon after as the Greens found themselves in direct competition.

A sublime through ball from Port skipper Dave Morgan dissected the Avenue defence and set Devarn Green free. He maintained his composure and passed the ball into the net – through the legs of Joe Green.

The home side didn’t lose heart but their efforts were well dealt with by Watson’s experienced side.

A spectacular third wrapped the scoring up, and in some style, as Morgan lashed a shot from distance past the diving Joe Green and just inside the post.

Southport moved up two places to fourth with the victory which was a fourth from their last five league games.