Southport FC claimed their place in the Buildbase FA Trophy fifth round after a wet and windy win over National League promotion hopefuls FC Halifax Town.

The Sandgrounders came out with energy and definitely put that to good use. Without football for three-and-a-half weeks, George Newell couldn’t wait to get a goal after the New Year break to give the Port an early lead.

David Morgan picked the ball up on the right side and floated in a cross for the unmarked Newell who precisely headed the ball into the far corner ten minutes in. With the rain hammering down, Southport struggled to string passes together and just three minutes later Tony McMillan pulled out a great save to deny Earing with Adam Anson there to clear the last gap shot from the rebound.

Halifax seemed to step it up a gear, and just ten minutes after Southport’s goal, Green played in Earing who rounded McMillan and cooly slotted home for the Shaymen to equalise.

Halifax’s defence had little to do for the rest of the half, with the home side dominating possession and chances.

30 minutes in, right back Jeff King floated a ball into the Southport box but Mansell could only head over. Then only a few minutes later a ball was crossed in, Doyle looked to clear it but could only hit the ball against the underside of the bar. The ball fell to Mansell, but McMillan was there to stop the striker tapping in from three yards out.

Five minutes later, King cut in from the right for the Yorkshire side and hit the ball with some power but luckily for the yellows, it ricocheted off the bar.

Minutes before the break, Earing broke free, but McMillan comes storming out stopping the attacker in his tracks. Then two minutes into added time, McMillan came out and nipped the ball from Mansell’s feet who was free on goal.

Halifax came out from the break with a renewed sense of urgency, pressing the Southport defence and showing their quality. McMillan was there to deny Earing yet again just 30 seconds in to the second half.

Southport started to apply pressure of their own shortly after, with Charlie Oliver floating the ball in towards goal and Johnson was forced to tip the cross over for a corner.

Following the domination from Halifax in the first half, Southport came out looking like the better team and their showing of confidence turned into a goal in the sixty-eight minute when the ball fell to Adam Anson in the box following a corner, the centre half turned his man and blasted the ball into the roof of the net. A goal a striker would be proud of.

Following Anson’s goal, Halifax stepped it up a gear with more relentless pressure, but Southport’s defence stood strong in what turned into a mud bath. The Shaymen came within inches of equalising three minutes into added time when Mansell turned in the box but could only hit the bar from a tight angle.

Southport will be going home with their heads held high after beating a side that sit sixth in the National League and pressed for long periods of the match. McMillan has most definitely stated his argument for starting at the weekend, following the three-and-a-half-week break.

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