Match Report: Southport vs Bradford (Park Avenue)

Bradford (Park Avenue) extended their unbeaten run to seven matches, despite surrendering a two-goal lead at Haig Avenue against Southport.

Southport signalled their early intentions with an early effort on goal which came courtesy of Dion Charles, who was looking to replicate the goal scoring form of missing top goalscorer Jack Sampson.

Conor Branson looked to add to his season tally of eleven, on five minutes. He received the ball in midfield but the shot was unfortunately not up to standard, and was dragged wide.

In the first-half, Southport failed to offer much outside of the opening of the opening exchanges. Charles skied an effort from ten yards and a free-kick from Brad Bauress didn’t do anything to worry Charlie Andrew in the Bradford goal.

Jake Beesley is a man in-form and he wanted to continue that, on twelve minutes he rounded Dan Hanford but was denied by a fantastic clearance by the covering defender who got back to the goal line to deny the on-loan Salford City man.

The opening goal was met by a degree of confusion on the Southport press bench, and after some deliberation the goal was given as an own-goal, despite Jake Beesley receiving the congratulations. 

Beesley wasn’t to be denied, though, and in similar fashion to the effort on twelve minutes he rounded Hanford and with all the composure in the world, slotted the ball home to double Avenue’s lead.

He almost had another, five minutes before half-time. An ambitious lob over the oncoming Hanford only met the stantion behind the goal rather than the back of the net.

Mark Bower will have undoubtedly been impressed with the performances, particularly the impeccable back four as well as the incoming Adam Nowakowski, who did an ever-reliable job in front of the aforementioned defence.

However a different energy came about the home side and it was evident even early in the second-half as they looked to make the game more of a contest. 

That was evident when Andrew was called into action again from Dion Charles after a clever flick from Devarn Green. However the deficit would be halved just two minutes later, when Jordan Archer scored a wonderful goal, leaving Andrew with no chance.

Branson and Beesley both had opportunities to restore the much-needed two-goal cushion, the former with a header after good play from Lewis Knight, Nicky Clee and Oli Johnson. The latter with a similar effort to is first-half goal as he took it round Hanford only to trip over his own feet.

The game went through a quiet spell, with both sides having bouts of possession as they looked for a vital fourth goal in the game, Clee had an effort from distance but it was handsomely over, while Morgan Homson-Smith tested Andrew.

Southport introduced out-of-favour striker, Jason Gilchrist to the pitch and as fate would have it he scored the goal in the final minute to gain his side a share of the spoils.

There were no further chances but Bradford stay well inside the play-offs as they return to action on Tuesday night against Telford United at the Horsfall.



Hanford, Richards, Ogle, Platt, Astles, Morgan (c), Green (Gilchrist 74′), Wood, Charles, Archer, Bauress (Homson-Smith 65′)

Bradford (Park Avenue)

Andrew, Ross, Clee, Nowaskowski, Killock (c) (East 75′), Havern, Knight, Branson, Beesley (Toulson 90+7′), Johnson, Spencer