Two goals early in the first half, and a third soon after the break, gave Southport a 3-1 win over Rochdale at Haig Avenue on Saturday.
Manager John Coleman opted for a similar starting eleven to the team he fielded against Marine FC on Tuesday evening.
Sam Minihan, Neill Byrne, Rhys Bennett and Joe Rafferty started in defence, while Brian Barry-Murphy, Luke Watson, Ian Craney and Ray Putterill were joined in mid-field by trialist Sean McConville.
With Matty Edwards side-lined through a wrist injury, Coleman has moved to bring goalkeeper Ben Smith on trial. He started in nets, while fellow trialist Craig Curran was up front.
Southport were very much on top during the first half and netted twice inside 25 minutes to take a 2-0 lead into the interval.
The home side showed early on that they would prove a threat going forward as Michael Bakare burst into the box at speed past the Dale defence leaving ‘keeper Smith to deal with the frontman. Danger was averted when the referee awarded a free-kick in Dale’s favour for a push on Smith.
But it didn’t take long for Southport to open the scoring. On 12 minutes, the home side were awarded a penalty for a trip on Shaun Whalley by Minihan inside the box. Whalley stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, driving it low straight down the middle of the goalmouth.
Three minutes after the goal and Southport threatened again, this time through Alan Moogan. He rattled a shot goal ward from 18 yards out, forcing Smith to react quickly to tip the effort over the bar.
Southport had another on target effort saved by Smith on 24 minutes, this time it was Karl Ledsham with the shot from inside the 18 yard box.
And with the home side dominating, it didn’t take long for them to extend their lead. Just a minute after Ledsham’s effort, Russell Benjamin slotted the ball home into the bottom right hand corner of the net to make it 2-0.
As the clock ticked down towards half time, Craig Curran went in search of Rochdale’s first of the afternoon, but despite looking lively, Southport’s goalkeeper Nemes pulled off two comfortable saves to keep the trialist at bay.
It was as was for Dale at the start of the second half, with no substitutes made at the break.
Southport, who dominated the first half, began the second half on top, and it didn’t take them long to add a third. A mistake from the Dale defence allowed Bakare to round Smith and slot the ball into the back of the net.
Trialists Domaine Rouse and Nial Rodney were then introduced on to the field of play along with youth team members Jamie Allan and Joel Logan.
The introduction of these players certainly gave Dale more of an attacking prowess with all four looking to drive forward at any given opportunity. However despite the side looking lively, they failed to test keeper in the final third.
Despite Dale having more of the ball, Southport certainly weren’t finished yet and came close to adding a fourth on 67 minutes. Rhys Bennett was there however to head the effort off the line.
As the match headed towards the final whistle it looked like Southport would see out the game with a 3-0 victory.
But on 90 minutes Neill Bryne headed home from a Luke Watson to pull one back for the visitors.
It finished Southport 3, Rochdale 1.