Result: Southport Storm 18-16 Accrington Panthers
The Storm earned there second victory of the season on Saturday against Accrington Panthers. Southport kicked off and defended well early on keeping the Panthers in their own half. The early stages of the match were evenly contested with both sets of forwards running hard and straight.
The panthers were awarded a scrum ten metres from the Southport try line and tried to use their forwards to crash over the line but the Storm defence remained strong and survived the set. On the last plat the Panther’s half back put a grubber kick through and forced a goal line drop out and repeat set.
Storm skipper Dave Oliver kicked the drop out and Accrington ran the ball back and put more pressure on the Southport line. The Storm defended well but the constant pressure was too much and the Panthers forced their way over the try line to score the game’s opening try. The Panther’s kicked added the conversion to make the score six nil.
The Storm responded well and stuck to the game plan they had worked on in training. Strong drives from Oliver, Calum Monaghan, Tom Smith, Jay McGregor, Liam Armstrong, Sam Collison and Sam Griffiths earned Southport field position near the Accrington line. Centres Ste McCann and Paul Fearon also came into the dummy half position and tok drives forward to help the pack of forwards. Half backs Ben Walton and Joe Wignall led the side around the pitch well and spread the ball out wide to the backs who looked very dangerous.
Hooker James Russell made an impressive break from dummy half and got up quickly to play thr ball. The ball was given to Wignall who created space for his half back partner Walton who slid over to score in the corner. Oliver added the touchline conversion to level the scores.
Soon after Accrington had another scrum twenty metres out and scored on the first play with an impressive back line move. This time the kicker was not able to add the conversion and the score was 10-6 to Accrington.
The game remained close but it was the Panthers who scored next with another well worked move. This time the conversion was successful and the score was 16-6 to Accrington. Southport believed they could still come back to win the game and they used backs Fane Murphy, Mike Sheard, Adam Atkinson, Andy Peterson and Ali Worrall to make ground in space out wide. The ball was passed back to the middle of the pitch. The ball was given to Walton in the middle of the pitch just inside the Southport half. He planned to pass but spotted a small game in the Panthers defensive line and used his electric pace to get through the line untouched. With fourty metres to go he still had several defenders to beat but he side stepped them all and not a single defender could get near him and he scored what was arguably the Storm’s try of the season so far. Oliver added the conversion to make the score 16-12 to Accrington.
Southport were full of confidence going into the final stages of the game and gave their all in attack trying to earn a late victory. With three minutes to go Ben Housson went into the dummy half position after another impressive run from Russell caught the Panthers defence off guard. Housson dummied a pass to the open side but ran to the blind side, beat two defenders and crashed over the line to score near the corner. This meant the score was level at 16-16 with three minutes to go so it was all down to Oliver to add the conversion. Despite the pressure he managed to slot the conversion to make the score 18-16 to the Strorm who held on to win the game.
This victory came from a lot of hard work in training and Southport’s belief and team spirit. The Storm are always improving and will continue to give their all and look forward to their next fixture at home to Folly Lane on May 9th.
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