Southport 2 Morecambe 3

Last updated : 01 January 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Despite a dramatic fightback in the final half hour, Southport could not end their run of seven games without a win in the Nationwide Conference.

Their comeback began when they were 3-0 down to Morecambe whose victory, only their third of the season away from home, gave then a big confidence boost before SaturdayÂ’s FA Cup third round tie at Ipswich.

In fact Morecambe were the best side seen at Haig Avenue so far in the current campaign, including the teams currently above them in the table.

With Southport lacking in confidence the visitors always looked the more dangerous side, but some poor finishing restricted them to only one goal before the interval.

It came in the 44th minute and gave their opponents a lesson in accurate passing and finishing.

A clearance from Craig Mawson went to Adriano Rigoglioso, who played it out to Michael Stringfellow wide on the left. In turn Stringfellow chipped the ball over the defence to Danny Carlton.

Steve Dickinson did well to block Carlton's first shot, but the ball went back to the Morecambe player, who slotted it into the far corner of the net with the keeper still on the ground.

Morecambe increased their lead five minutes after the start of the second half. Chris Lane and Barry Jones made a combined challenge on former Southport player Lee Elam, who went down just inside the penalty area.

The referee immediately awarded a penalty, which was converted comfortably by skipper Stewart Drummond.

Things went from bad to worse for Southport in the 55th minute when Rigoglioso added a third, played into space by Stringfellow, he made ground on the right before beating Dickinson with a low cross shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Shortly before that Southport manager Phil Wilson had sent on veteran striker Steve Whitehall and changed to a three-man attack. His tactics paid off as his side reduced the deficit on the hour through Paul Edwards.

After that Elam and Rigoglioso both missed easy chances to have put the match beyond Southport's reach before the home side scored a second goal in the 86th minute.

A centre from Barry Jones wide on the left saw Steve Soley have a header saved at point-blank range by Mawson, who could not hold on to the ball and it cannoned away from him for Peter Thomson to score from almost under the bar.