Cards hope for joy on the road
10:19am, Thu 11th Aug 2016
Southport v Woking
Vanarama National League
3pm on Saturday 13 August 2016
Garry Hill will have been frustrated to see his players let slip a two-goal lead at Solihull Moors on Tuesday night. The Cards face an even longer trip on Saturday, to Southport, who have yet to gain a point and may be one of the weaker sides this season. With some tough games coming up, Garry will be keen to get something out of Saturdayâ€™s encounter, especially against a team which will presumably be short of confidence after two substantial defeats.
Without, apparently, playing very well, the Cards secured a two-goal lead on Tuesday evening through Nathan Ralph and Zac Ansah but conceded in the 73rd and 80th minutes to come away with only a point. The only change in the starting line-up from Saturdayâ€™s defeat against Lincoln City was that Ismail Yakubu started in defence, with Fabio Saraiva dropping to the bench and Joey Jones moving forward into midfield as in the second half against Lincoln City. Cards fans will be hoping that Yakubu is fit to return against Southport after limping off on Tuesday and will also be hoping that Delano Sam-Yorke will be available.
The Sandgrounders finished in 16th place last season thanks to some good results under Dino Maamria in mid-season and then under temporary manager Andy Bishop towards the end of the campaign.
Now confirmed as manager, Bishop sought to strengthen the side with a number of signings in the summer. Among them were strikers James Caton, a winger from Lincoln City, who had a previous loan spell at Haig Avenue; James Gray, a Northern Ireland U21 international, who was with Barrow last season; and John Cofie, who was with AFC Telford last season but who was the subject of a Â£1m transfer from Burnley to Manchester United as a 14 year-old. In midfield the main addition was the experienced Ashley Grimes, another recruit from Barrow. A clutch of defenders was added, including Neil Ashton, yet another Barrow recruit but who played over 200 times for Wrexham; Keil Oâ€™Brien from Bury; Joe Kearns, formerly Creweâ€™s U18 captain; and Chris Doyle from Morecambe. Ty Belford, on a season-long loan from Swindon Town, is first choice keeper, with another new signing, Ryan Crump, as back-up. Probably just as important as the new signings were the decisions of top scorer Louis Almond and captain Gary Jones to re-sign.
In spite of all the changes the Port found themselves outclassed on the opening day at Dagenham and Redbridge â€“ apparently fortunate to lose only 3-0. By all accounts they played better on Tuesday evening at home to Gateshead but failed to make any impression against a very solid Gateshead defence and ended up on the wrong end of another 3-0 scoreline, although two of the Heedâ€™s goals came late on.
Merseyrail Community Stadium
Official website: www.southportfc.net
The Cards Trust is not running a coach to this game
Leave the M6 at Junction 26 and take the M58 towards Southport. Leave the M58 at Junction 3 and take the A570 towards Ormskirk. Follow the A570 around Ormskirk Town Centre towards Southport. On entering Southport you will come to a large roundabout with Tesco's & McDonalds outlets. Take the 3rd exit onto Scarisbrick New Road (A570). You should now be able to catch sight of the ground over on your right. Pass the Richmond pub on your left and then turn right into Haig Avenue. The ground is down on the right. There is no car park at the ground. However, there are usually many spaces under a couple of minutesâ€™ walk away, but watch out for parking restrictions around the streets.
You can either get a train from Euston to Wigan and change there or travel to Liverpool Lime Street and then catch the Merseyrail to Southport. Look up www.nationalrail.co.uk or www.thetrainline.com for details of train times and prices.
Under 18s: Â£5
Under 11s: Free (if accompanied by a paying adult)
The match will be segregated and the â€˜away endâ€™ is an uncovered terrace.
The Cards have two very attractive, but difficult, home games coming up. On Tuesday 16 August they take on last yearâ€™s defeated play-off finalists, Forest Green Rovers. And then, on the following Saturday (20 August), they are at home to Dagenham and Redbridge, who are bidding for an immediate return to League 2.
Come on, you Cards!