Gary Roberts netted an 89th-minute winner to ensure Southport start the season with back-to-back victories as they picked up maximum points at Bradford Park Avenue.

The winning goal scored by Roberts was reward for the pressure applied by the Sandgrounders, who came from behind to dominate after conceding during the opening stages.

Adam Boyes had given the home team an early lead but once Andy White equalised the Sandgrounders proceeded to control the game. They played most of the second half against ten men, and the question was whether they could convert their pressure into maximum points.

With a minute remaining, they did just that, Roberts sweeping home the ball at the far post after the ball had been played across the penalty box from the right by substitute Yves Zama.

In a match between two teams who won their opening match of the Vanarama National North season, the Sandgrounders knew that this would be an evening when they had to grind a result out.

On Saturday, scoring an early goal helped Southport find stride in the 4-0 win over Boston United, but this time they found themselves on the back foot, Boyes putting Bradford in front after ten minutes.

The stiker poked the ball home from a matter of yards after Javan Vidal’s cross from the right side of the penalty area led to a scramble in which the Sandgrounders failed to clear.

It took until midway through the first half for Southport to settle, but once they did, the visitors forced an equaliser, White receiving the loose ball from a Brad Jackson cross before sending a sweet left-footed strike past goalkeeper Steven Drench from just inside the Bradford area.

The goal was the culmination of a good period of pressure from the visitors, John Paul Kissock releasing Liam Martin with a fine reverse pass only for defender Luca Havern to intervene, while Dominic Smith met a Gary Roberts corner with a header but was unable to force the ball over the line.

Roberts himself almost put the Sandgrounders in front but his low shot was beaten out by goalkeeper Drench after a superb turn.

There were chances at both ends during an entertainingly open first half, Matt Hill sending a rocket of a shot narrowly wide of the Southport goal.

The visitors saw an increased amount of possession at the start of the second period, goalkeeper Drench producing a finger-tip save after an excellent leap from Martin to connect with a hanging cross from Roberts.

Southport’s cause was aided just after the hour when Vidal received a straight red card for a lunge on White.

The Sandgrounders increased the pressure as the second half went on and they were rewarded for their persistence late on when Roberts scored a dramatic later winner.

Southport (3-5-2): Turner, Dugdale, C Jones, Smith, Jackson, Roberts, Kissock, Fletcher (Jennings 71), White, Sampson, Martin (Zama 84).
Subs not used: E Jones, Garner, Roache.

Bradford Park Avenue (4-2-3-1): Drench, Vidal, Havern, Knowles, Hill, Wroe, Spencer (Toulson 64), Brooksby (Nowakowski 81), N Boshell (D Boshell 64), Johnson, Boyes.
Subs not used: Hall, Knight.

Attendance: 574

Referee: Barry Lamb

Report by Alan Jones