Football / Non-League Notebook: Withers withers Liverpool

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The Independent Online
SOUTHPORT joined the lengthening list of teams to inflict an unexpected defeat on Liverpool when they dismissed a strong Anfield reserve side from the Liverpool Senior Cup on Wednesday, earning a standing ovation from a crowd of more than 1,200 at their Haig Avenue ground, writes Rupert Metcalf.

The visitors fielded Bruce Grobbelaar in goal, Sammy Lee in midfield and Lee Jones, last summer's signing from Wrexham, in attack but they were unable to prevent the HFS Loans League leaders from advancing to the semi- finals. Steve Haw, Southport's top scorer, put them ahead on the hour but Liverpool levelled in the last minute to force extra time.

In the 115th minute Haw escaped from the clutches of the offside trap, picked himself up after a crashing tackle and set up Pete Withers to drive home the winner from 25 yards past a well-beaten Grobbelaar.

'Liverpool played very well but they didn't make many chances - we deserved to win,' Brian Kettle, the Southport manager and a former captain of the Anfield reserve side, said yesterday. 'It's always a bit special to beat Liverpool, whatever sort of team they put out.'

Southport will revert to the role of underdogs on Tuesday when they travel to Workington, their former Football League rivals who are struggling near the foot of the HFS Loans First Division, in the third round of the League Cup. Before then, however, they could extend their lead at the top of the Premier Division to seven points if they win at lowly Goole tomorrow, as Morecambe and Marine, their main rivals for the title and promotion to the GM Vauxhall Conference, are engaged in the second round of the FA Trophy.

Morecambe have the toughest task of all 32 sides left in the Trophy - a home tie against Wycombe Wanderers, the formidable Conference front runners - while Marine travel to Nuneaton Borough. The outstanding tie, however, brings together two of the season's in-form teams: Chesham United, four points clear at the top of the Diadora League, at home to Dover Athletic, who lead the Beazer Homes League by 10 points. Bashley, from the New Forest, make the long trek to Northallerton of the Northern League, the smallest club left in the tournament, who have reached this stage for the second year running.