BRADFORD (Park Avenue) 0-2 Southport

11 days ago, Avenue had just captured their second victory of the season with a backs to the wall win against Alfreton Town, this time out the scoreline and performance was identical but it came from the opposing corner.

Southport travelled to Horsfall eager to return to winning ways after successive defeats, and they sure dug in their heels to make it a comfortable journey home.

It was a typical away day performance, Jose Mourinho-esque if you will. Defend impeccably and take your chances when they come.

This is certainly what Jordan Archer and Connor Woods did. Firstly, the former was in the right place at the right time to break the deadlock.

Dan Atkinson again showed why he is preferred in front of ex-Leeds United keeper Will Huffer in the shot stopping department but he must become more decisive.

On several occasions he flapped at crosses and for Woods' finish he was unsure whether to come or go as he was lobbed from outside his box after slipping.

It was Bradford's woes at the other end of the pitch which caused their comeuppance on this windy night though.

Despite, lacking a pure centre forward, Mark Bower's men have surprisingly looked good in front of goal this season, netting the joint third most goals in the league (10).

That 4-4 draw at table toppers Gloucester City proved they have plenty of goals in their locker. However, last night the hosts lacked ideas in the final third.

There were many occasions where Nicky Clee, Ryan Toulson and Isaac Marriott were on the ball in midfield and either did not have any forward runners or were unable to find that key pass.

This, of course, was not helped by the defensive approach of Liam Watson's side. Teams who play five at the back are always difficult to break down.

But if Park Avenue want to be considered as serious Step Two players, they most find answers to the questions teams like Southport will pose.

Utilising their full backs has been working well in recent weeks. However, Harry Boyes was unable to replicate his previous showings, purely down to the system he faced.

Talented wing back Matthew Challoner negated what Boyes could do going forward, and defensively the 18-year-old could not make his mind up to go with the winger or Challoner.

Although, the Sandgrounders will be gutted to see him given his marching orders after gaining a second booking for wasting time.

If the returning Adam Nowakowski buries his two golden chances we are talking about a different game. The makeshift forward put a free header over and should have dinked Dan Hanford after the keeper had miscontrolled.

Post-match Bower also pointed at the challenge on Jake Hibbs, labelling the decision from referee Paul Cooper as 'baffling' for the 'stonewall penalty'.

Cooper had adjudged the weight of a Port player's push into the back of the goalbound Hibbs was not enough for him to go down.

Other than these three bits of attacking play in the first, the home side looked clueless whenever they landed on the Southport 18 yard line.

In what was stalwarts Clee's 100th appearance and the eve of Toulson's 35th birthday, both players will reflect on that performance knowing their side could have done more.


Avenue: Atkinson 6, Ross 5, Lund 5 (Downing 88'), Havern (C) 5, Boyes 4, Toulson 6 (Sanyang 66'), Clee 6 (Windass 78'), Marriott 5, Hibbs 6, Nowakowski 6 (Lyons 76'), Knight 5 (Downing 86'). Subs not used: Huffer, L Lyons.

Bookings: Lund, Marriott, Nowakowski

Southport: Hanford 6, Oliver 7, Anson 6, Bainbridge 6, Challoner 5, Doyle 7, Benjamin 6 (Ali 72'), Morgan (C) 7, Woods 9 (Vassallo 88'), Archer 8 (Carver 79'), Watson 6. Subs not used: McMillan, Winnard.

Bookings: Ali

Red card: Challoner

Goals: Archer 26, Woods 68