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This is the seaside town that they forgot to close down

What a week of sport, eh! Bazball vindicated! No, I meant this Baz.

Image © Mick Rathbone. Buy his books.

Last Saturday was yet another day of questioning my life choices. It was announced the day before the game that Merseyside Police had told Southport not to sell any alcohol inside the ground, because obviously if we had a couple of pints while watching the game we’d go on the rampage afterwards and raid the Lawnmower Museum and trash the model railway. The away terrace was uncovered, and it pissed down all day. And 888 of us mad bastards went anyway, to watch a totally meaningless game. Imagine what it’d be like if we were any good.

Image © Luke Reynolds

We went with a much stronger starting line up than at Hyde. It looked to me like we were playing 3-5-2 with Kitching and Green playing as wing back, but a lot of people have said we were playing 4-4-2. Willoughby made a nuisance of himself, Green and Lundstram both played well, Nuttall had a couple of decent chances in the first half (hitting the bar with one) then got a red card for bitch slapping/aggressively stroking a Southport player right in front of the referee, the daft get.

To be brutally honest, I thought we played better after Nuttall’s sending off, and Green went on a good run down the middle and finished it very nicely to put us 1-0 up. In a repeat of far too many games last season, we let in a scruffy goal 5 minutes from the end, at which point I’d had more than enough and went the pub.

Image © Luke Reynolds

It was a more defensive performance that any of us would have liked, Nuttall really hasn’t done himself any favours, and we didn’t even have a clean sheet to celebrate. It was still only a pre-season friendly, though, and maybe if you’re daft enough to make a near-80 mile round trip to stand on an uncovered terrace with no bar in the pissing rain to watch it you deserve all you get. I’m keeping my ticket, because they should give us first dibs on tickets for Oxford City.

We didn’t go to Chorley (even I’m not mad enough to take an afternoon off work to go to a pre-season friendly at Chorley), so obviously that was a goalfest and our best performance in preseason. It looked like we were in for a long night when we went 1-0 down early on, but Reid put it on a plate for Fondop to equalise and the floodgates opened. Both of them went on to score two. I think a lot of the criticism of Nuttall is harsh, and I definitely don’t think he’s lazy, but he didn’t do himself any favours at Southport, and Nuttall and Reid definitely aren’t our strongest strike partnership.

Image © Oldham Athletic

It ended 6-1, with Green having another good game and being rewarded with a goal. He also put in a lovely cross for Willoughby, who put it away with a very good header for a shortarse. Willoughby also said the magic words ‘winning mentality’ in his post-match interview, which should put him on Unsworth’s good books.

None of which is worth getting carried away with, because, I repeat, they’re only pre-season friendlies. But it was a relief to batter a team. Even if it doesn’t mean anything and it’s just a training exercise.

Safe journey if you’re off to Curzon Ashton today. (If you’ve got tickets for day 4 at Old Trafford, check the weather and maybe go to Ashton instead.) Go to Lily’s curry house by the bus station/tram stop on your way home, it’s well nice. And I hope you’re all up in time this morning to cheer on the Lionesses in their opening World Cup game against Haiti, which should also be a goalfest. Stay Zen. KTMFF.

Written by Arlene Finnigan

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