Southport offers visitors a variety of attractions. The resort boasts the famous Lord Street while the pier is the second longest in the United Kingdom. Then there's the miles of rolling sand dunes and the many golf courses. Alan Irvine, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, might have to keep away from them after eliminating his local club from the FA Cup.
As part of Birkdale's football community, which also includes Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson, Irvine resides just three miles away from Haig Avenue, home to the town's part-time team. The two second half goals Clinton Morrison scored at least helped ensure Irvine's short drive back home from yesterday's FA Cup first round tie was a happy one. "I spend most of my time in Sheffield so I'm sure I won't be at risk!" said Irvine. "I'm relieved because everyone came here to see us lose, but our attitude from the start was very professional."
Wednesday's visit was billed as Southport's biggest Cup tie for 42 years and, but for three disastrous second-half minutes, the Blue Square Premier team gave their League One opponents a test despite the 56-place gap between the two clubs on the league ladder.
Gary Teale made an 11th-minute breakthrough for Wednesday before ex-Liverpool FA Youth Cup winner Paul Barratt levelled in the 52nd minute, the first of six goals in an astonishing 12-minute spell.
Neil Mellor made it 2-1 to the visitors before substitute Matty McGinn levelled with a sublime chip. However, Southport undid all their hard work with some abysmal defending as Wednesday booked a second-round home tie with Northampton Town by scoring three times in as many second-half minutes. Morrison netted twice in the space of 60 seconds to take the tie out of Southport's sight before Tommy Spurr fired into the top corner after the home defence failed to deal with a corner.
"At one stage it looked like we were going to give ourselves a chance," said the Southport manager, Liam Watson. "But after the second equaliser, we got carried away."
Southport (4-5-1): Dickinson; Williams, Flynn, Davis, Lever; Barratt, Blakeman (T Gray, 58), Lee (Powell, 68), Moogan, Simm (McGinn, 58); McNeil. Substitutes not used: Fitzpatrick (gk), Morley, S Gray, Daly.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Weaver; Otsemobor, Purse, Beevers, Spurr; Miller (Sedgewick, 73), Coke, O'Connor, Teale; Morrison (Heffernan, 77) Mellor (Tudgay, 73). Substitutes not used: Jameson (gk), Buxton, Jones, Potter.
Man of the match: Morrison Match rating: 7/10
Possession: Southport 50% Sheff Wed 50%
Shots on target: Southport 4 Sheff Wed 10
Referee: C Boyeson (E Yorkshire) Att: 4,490Reuse content