Report: Southport 0-4 Warrington Town

Warrington Town crowned their National League North debut with an emphatic 4-0 victory at neighbours Southport.

The much-deserved result at Haig Avenue saw the club move top of the table after the opening round of fixtures, courtesy of a superior goal difference to those below them.

A Sean Williams stunner on the stroke of half-time gave the Yellows the lead, and they added to their 1-0 advantage in the second half thanks to goals from Luke Duffy, Bohan Dixon and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts – the latter netting against his former club.

After a somewhat cagey opening, the first half burst into life with 15 minutes on the clock. A contentious moment saw Yellows goalkeeper Tony Thompson receive a yellow card for handling the ball outside of his own penalty area, having initially fumbled it before attempting to gather at the second attempt.

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The game was played at a fast pace, and both teams created chances as the half progressed. Matty McDonald forced a good save from Southport goalkeeper Chris Renshaw at his near post, while at the other end Thompson had to be alert to deny Josh Hmami and Marcus Carver – although the offside flag would’ve denied the hosts on both occasions in any case.

The linesman’s flag also meant that Tyler Walton’s dinked finish over Thompson was chalked off midway through the first half, and Andy White was forced to head away a goal-bound shot from inside his six-yard box not long after.

On the stroke of half-time, the Yellows’ defence sturdiness was rewarded with a fine finish at the other to break the deadlock. Sean Williams – a stand-out performer in midfield – played a corner short and exchanged passes with former Southport man Connor Woods before cutting onto his right foot and bending a sublime effort into the top corner.

Photo credit: Sean Walsh

It took just four minutes of the second half for that lead to double, and it came after an incisive breakaway from the Yellows. Bohan Dixon led the charge down the right and stood a cross up towards the far post for Luke Duffy, who snuck around the back of his man and cushioned a sublime volley across the face of Renshaw to find the corner.

With the hosts forced to commit bodies forward, more space presented itself, and that led to further joy for Mark Beesley’s side as Dixon latched onto a Buckley-Ricketts throughball before rounding the goalkeeper and calmly making it 3-0.

Then, with five minutes of normal time remaining, Buckley-Ricketts went from creator to scorer as he kept his cool and fired beyond Renshaw after being found in open space by Matty McDonald, who intercepted a poor ball infield from Southport substitute David Morgan before having the presence of mind to pick out Town’s play-off final hero.

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The result leaves the Yellows top of the pile after the opening round of fixtures, and puts them in a good position ahead of back-to-back home games against Blyth Spartans and Buxton.

Southport: Renshaw, Thomson (Morgan), Doyle, Flowers, Anson, Evans (Watson), Carver, Walton, Quansah, Hmami (Heath), Bainbridge.

Subs not used: McMillan, Sass.

Warrington Town: Thompson, White, Hannigan, GUmbs, Woods (Buckley), Williams, McDonald (Walker), Duffy (Clarke), Dixon, Buckley-Ricketts, Duggan.

Subs not used: Atherton, Bennett.

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