MATCH REPORT | Southport 1-2 Chester
Chester extended their remarkable away league unbeaten run to 20 matches with a gutsy win at Southport in front of 1,300 travelling Seals.
Jack Doyle’s controversial red card in an uneventful opening 45 gave the Blues a man advantage, before Elliott Whitehouse made it a goal advantage early in the second half.
Niall Watson’s well-taken strike levelled it up, but Kurt Willoughby’s sublime curling effort on 63 minutes was the winner on a wet afternoon on Merseyside.
Manager Calum McIntyre made three changes from the Good Friday draw with Chorley. Liam Edwards, Kevin Roberts and Iwan Murray replaced Alex Kenyon, Lewis Earl and Adam Thomas in the starting XI.
The Blues had a half chance early on when Ollie Heywood crossed after neat build up play, but Murray couldn’t turn his effort towards goal.
Connor Heath was presented with a big chance on 11 minutes when he got beyond Kieran Coates on the counter, however the home side’s forward fired the wrong side of the post.
Halfway through the opening 45 came a big moment in the game. Doyle flew in on Roberts and, to the surprise of the majority in the ground, Referee Stuart Morland opted to send off the Southport defender.
Chester struggled to create any real openings for the remainder of the half despite the man advantage, having a lot of the ball but failing to test Tony McMillan.
But the second half saw an instant reaction and the Blues took the lead courtesy of loanee Whitehouse.
The midfielder collected the ball from Weeks and lashed a fantastic low shot into the bottom corner from range to score his second in as many away games.
However, the hosts showed that they weren’t going to lie down easily and equalised seven minutes later.
Josh Hmami’s free kick into the box was only half cleared and fell kindly for sub Niall Watson who brilliantly smashed the ball into the top corner from just inside the area.
But a clinical Chester counter restored the advantage just after the hour mark.
Weeks whipped a pass to Willoughby who took a touch and curled home in style from 25 yards out, the ball flying in via the underside of the crossbar.
It was the Blues’ top scorers’ last contribution, forced off due to injury immediately after striking the winner.
Southport were looking to take the game deep and create a late chance, but the Seals almost wrapped it up on 85 when Adam Thomas latched on to Tyrer’s long goal kick, but McMillan got down to make a strong save to push the volley behind.
Tyler Walton looked to level it late on with a surging run into the box, however Tyrer held on to his low shot, before the Everton loanee had to claw away an Adam Anson header in stoppage time.
The hosts went even closer even deeper into added on time when Hmami’s clever near post corner struck the post and rebounded clear – as McIntyre’s men held on.
CHESTER: Tyrer, Coates, Williams (Lynch 83), Edwards, Heywood, Roberts, Weeks, Murray (Thomas 46), Whitehouse, Caton, Willoughby (Hall 65).
SUBS NOT USED: Brown, Dudley.
SCORERS: Watson 56; Whitehouse 49, Willoughby 63
ATTENDANCE: 2,638 (1,336 Chester).