After succeeding in taking four points off Chester this season as a result of last night’s 1-1 draw at Edgar Street, the Bulls now regroup and head for Haig Avenue, Southport this Saturday.

Paul Caddis’ side lie just three points outside the play-off positions, and have a game in hand on four clubs that lie above them. Therefore, the match at Southport has taken on greater significance.

I was about to launch into a take of unmitigated Sandgrounders gloom. But such is the way of National League North, there was a twist. In their previous home game, situation normal reigned. ‘Port were 1-0 down to Brackley, with five minutes left. Arguably worse than usual as their only goal scorer was sent off. Somehow, shot-shy Southport scored in the 85th, 88th and 92nd minute to move out of the bottom four.

This may only be a blip of course. They were due to host Bishops Stortford in a ‘Gimme” fixture but that game was postponed as the Bishops had to re-arrange their Trophy game with Coalville.

‘Port then lost 3-0 at Chorley on Saturday, before beating Scarborough at the Flamingo Land Stadium last night with a 47th minute goal from Tyler Walton. The result at Chorley was expected – the win at Scarborough a definite shock.

Pre-Brackley, they’d only picked up 4 points in 9 league matches, conceding a stack of goals along the way. For the previous home midweek match against Spennymoor only 520 people turned up, their lowest home gate for 30 years.

Southport FC was taken over last October. For whatever reason, the previous owner Ian Kyle was no longer able to shovel more of his own money into Southport and the company were about to be struck off by HMRC. New owners Big Help Group are trying to be exactly that, with an immediate donation of £100,000 to keep the lights on. In their two public forums to date, they paint a gloomy picture. The next accounts will show a £700,000 turnover and a loss of £250,000. As indications of what they’d inherited, one third of the advertising boards were not paid for over the last two years. The pitchside caterer left with no notice so one of the board members was reluctantly tasked with buying a burger van within 48 hours and running in house catering. Sounds as if he is making a fist of it. Their new range includes paella which sells out every game. it’s unlikely that such tempting nosh will reach the away support.

One of the first actions of the new board was to extend the contract of new-ish manager Jim Bentley until 2026. In the light of recent results, part of the fanbase are unimpressed, complaining senior players have left and there are too many less -committed loan players in the ranks. ‘Port traditionally rely on their small hardcore of long-term players but unfortunately for them main striker Jordan Archer was out for ten months while regular central defenders Anson and Evans are both long -term injured. To a large degree, the managers hands are tied.

Their top scorer is Marcus Carver with 8 goals. Both he and fellow striker Ritchie Bennett are on loan from Scunthorpe. Curious that the Iron, under a transfer embargo and short of goals haven’t recalled them. Carver has played recent games on the wing, another mystery for supporters given that their second highest scorer still at the club has only scored three times. That may change as their returning main man Jordan Archer netted for the first time v Brackley.

In short, Southport don’t score many and have the second worst defence in NLN. Their home record is 5-2-9 with the hosts netting a mere 15 goals at Haig Avenue. It’s doubtful we will see a best example of the beautiful game, and a windswept battle is the most likely scenario. It’s always windy there!

If you are travelling, buy your ticket in advance and do remember the terrace is open. £13.50 terrace, £15 seats (concessions £10 / £11) are the online prices. Buy on the day from the ticket office at a £2.50 premium.

Match Tickets | Southport FC Tickets (

Cross everything for a dominant Hereford display.

Simon Wright

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

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