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Profiling our hosts: Southport

Southport host the Mariners for the second time in seven days on Saturday as both sides look to reach the third round of the Isuzu FA Trophy.

The Port have enjoyed their football at The Big Help Stadium as of late, having been under new management for the past 10 weeks.

Jim Bentley was appointed at the end of August after a disastrous start saw the Sandgrounders sit on one point out of an available 18, including a defeat to newly-promoted and local rivals Warrington Town on the opening day.

Bentley’s arrival came with an instant bounce seeing five wins in six and no defeats, and he has now won eight of his first 15 in charge, resulting in a comfortable spot in 12th place, just before the halfway point of the season.

His managerial career started off at Morecambe, where he had previously made over 300 appearances as a player, and he went straight into the role after his playing days ended in 2011. He enjoyed eight years with the Shrimps before his resignation to join Fylde, for what was deemed an unsuccessful time.

He spent seven months with Rochdale last year but could not steer the Greater Manchester side away from the root of League Two.

Scunthorpe loanee Marcus Carver, now returning from suspension, has made quite the impression in his third stint with the Yellows. He is in fine form, with six goals to his name this season.

An additional summer recruit in Harry Flowers has also become a vital part of the side. The centre-back arrived from Telford United and has struggled to put a foot wrong on Merseyside, with contributions both defensively and offensively.

Both sides, having just been introduced to the competition at this stage, will look to spark a cup run for their supporters.

Southport came close to success in the competition in 1998 despite flirting with relegation in their league campaign. Although well-followed, their cup run ended at Wembley, courtesy of Cheltenham Town in a narrow 1-0 defeat. They had never surpassed as far as the quarter-finals prior, and haven't since.

The two sides met in the FA Trophy in 2019, firstly at 1st Cloud Arena, where the Port forced a replay after Raul Correia found a late equaliser to make it 2-2 despite the then Northern Premier League side coming from behind after two goals in quick succession.

The replay resulted in a comfortable 3-1 win for the hosts, despite an early Shields goal from Jason Gilchrist, who also scored in the reverse fixture. AFC Fylde – managed by Bentley - went on to defeat the winners in the next round.

Southport, having beaten the Mariners only a matter of days ago, will be looking to make it five unbeaten in all competitions – with their third home game on the spin.

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1 Comment

Sound Clami
Sound Clami
May 03

Reaching the FA Trophy's third round is a significant achievement, so both teams will be highly motivated to secure the win.

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