Southport manager Jim Bentley praised his men after they progressed to the third round of the FA Trophy with a 4-0 victory against South Shields.
50′ – GOAL! – It’s three for the Sandgrounders! O’Neill picked up the ball and drove at goal, dazzling the Shields defence. He laid it off to Watson, who jinked past a challenge, chopped in and placed the ball in to the top right corner to finish off a beautiful goal.
— MerseySportLive (@merseysportlive) November 18, 2023
Goals from Niall Watson, Adam Anson, Mikey O’Neill and Declan Evans completed the scoring in a dominant display at The Big Help Stadium.
Manager Bentley told MerseySportLive: “(I am) really pleased. Pleased defensively, pleased offensively and to be in the hat for the next round, you can’t ask for more than that. Fantastic win for us, really pleasing. Few things going against us – couple of injuries etc, but I can’t praise the lads enough.
“I think we have played really well today. We have had to against a good outfit, but we deserved the win thoroughly. I have given them (South Shields) loads of praise but actually it is about us today and that is a fantastic win for us today.”
The victory means the Sandgrounders extended their unbeaten run to five games, with their opponents the favourites coming into the FA Trophy tie.
South Shields sit in second place in the National League North, but despite being ten places above them, were dominated by ‘Port on Saturday.
Bentley, 47, added: “it shows that we have got a bit of character in the dressing room. We are organised, we are hard-working; you have seen that today. As long as there is that competition and everyone is willing to work hard, I think we can win games, and that is what we are doing.
“Our shape out of possession was brilliant and I think the difference today was that we were a little bit more tidy in possession, that gives us the opportunity to go and attack their goal. So (I am) really pleased. Obviously one is a penalty, but the lead up to it how we got the penalty, the other goals are fantastic, the first one especially.”
The club was taken over this month, and Bentley given a contract extension a day prior to the cup clash.
When asked about whether new faces are required, the head coach stated: “We have got Tuesday away (at Scunthorpe), we have got Buxton away who are another fancied and ambitious side. We are a side that is stretched body wise, so you are always looking to get better. But having said that, the lads that are here are doing brilliantly. You are always assessing the situation.
“We aspire to be like them (South Shields). They have come from nowhere, they have had investment, they have gone up through the levels.”
Up next for Southport is a trip to Scunthorpe United in the National League on Tuesday night.