Bradford (Park Avenue) were denied victory by a stunning strike from Southport’s Bradley Bauress in a 2-2 draw at the Horsfall Stadium.
The early stages yielded little in the way of entertainment as both sides wrestled with the conditions and struggled to find any rhythm.
However, the visitors pounced in the 13th minute to edge themselves ahead. Dean Winnard connected with Bradley Bauress’ corner delivery and directed his header past a helpless Steven Drench.
The goal rallied Bradford, who struck back through Conor Branson just four minutes later. The returning midfielder dived to meet Lewis Knight’s free-kick delivery before heading into the bottom corner.
With the wind in their sails, Bradford began to attack with an increased sense of urgency and a quicker tempo. Knight sent a shot wide of the post from the right-hand side of the box and Conor Branson saw a header saved by Daniel Hanford after connecting with Nicky Wroe’s free-kick delivery.
Southport dealt with the onslaught and aimed to ask questions of the Bradford backline with swiftly-launched counter-attacks. A neat exchange between Jordan Archer and Dion Charles provided the latter with the opportunity to test Drench but he failed to do so, firing over the crossbar.
Archer then found himself on the end of an inch-perfect cross from Jordan Richards, but he headed wide after escaping Gianluca Havern in the box.
HALF-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-1 Southport
The first opportunity of the second-half fell to Southport skipper David Morgan, but Drench pushed his long-range effort wide and the resulting corner was cleared.
Morgan then saw a speculative effort from an even greater distance sail over the woodwork.
Beesley then found himself one-on-one with Hanford after a deflected pass from Nicky Clee put the ball in the forward’s path. The ball, however, ran out of play after Beesley knocked the ball to the side of an on-rushing Hanford.
Danny Lowe then had his blushes spared by Drench, who made a magnificent save to prevent the defender’s misdirected header nestling in Bradford’s own net.
The hosts took the lead in the 74th minute through stand-in skipper Oli Johnson, who raced away from Richards and steered past Hanford from the left-hand side of the box.
The Sandgrounders took just three minutes to produce a response and did so in sensational fashion. A stunning long-range strike from Bauress levelled proceedings after nestling in the bottom corner.
Southport substitute Devarn Green then demonstrated some deft footwork on the right flank before teeing up Charles, but the midfielder blasted over.
Both sides continued to hunt for the elusive winning goal but neither managed to make a breakthrough. Adam Nowakowski was denied by Hanford at close-range and Marcus Wood’s audacious piledriver flew narrowly wide before the referee blew the final whistle.
FULL-TIME: Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-2 Southport
Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Toulson, Lowe, Wroe (Spencer 82’), Ross, Havern, Knight, Beesley, Johnson (c), Clee (Nowakowski 71’).
Unused substitutes: Dawson, Hurst, McKenna.
Southport: Hanford, Richards, Ogle, Edwards, Winnard, Morgan (c), Charles, Wood, Gilchrist (Green 62’), Archer (Sampson 72’), Bauress.
Unused substitutes: Homson-Smith, Mueller, Parry.
Referee: Tom Parsons