Williams ensures Saints will finish in the top three

Aaron Williams got the goal which ensured Brackley Town will finish in third place at least
Aaron Williams got the goal which ensured Brackley Town will finish in third place at least

Brackley Town’s first ever visit to Southport secured the victory that seals at least third place for the forthcoming play-offs with two games remaining.

Top scorer Aaron Williams got the only goal of Saturday’s game, his 22nd in Vanarama National League North. Williams is the league’s second top scorer behind only Southport’s Jason Gilchrist.

That was an important win that helps with our end of season planning and preparations

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

Southport’s Merseyrail Community Stadium is about to under-go a major re-build with work beginning immediately after this final home game. Indeed, much of an almost soporific first period felt like an end of season game with Haig Avenue’s wide open spaces draining the legs of already weary players as another nine-month season draws to its close.

Both sides needed the win for different reasons, Saints to nail on play-off home advantage and the Sandgrounders to remove any mathematical uncertainty about survival in the division.

Neither Ellis Myles’ shot which was well saved nor ‘Port’s effort from Dion Charles when well placed could break the deadlock as both sides struggled to create fluidity in an even first half.

The second half was immediately a quite different game though with greater attacking urgency from both sides. Gilchrist went through one-on-one but was foiled by Danny Lewis before Saints felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty as Williams tumbled under challenge from Clive Smith.

Williams sliced his shot wide moments later but it was Saints’ top scorer who produced the crucial moment in the 75th minute. Substitute Matt Lowe’s driving run found Williams whose angled finish was emphatic.

Late dribbling wizardry from substitute Joe Iaciofano created further chances and provided an entertaining finale for supporters as Saints claimed the points and results elsewhere did the job for Southport leaving just about everybody content.

Boss Kevin Wilkin said: “That was an important win that helps with our end of season planning and preparations.

“There weren’t too many chances but we scored a good goal and Danny Lewis earlier made a very good save so it’s a pleasing three points for us to get back to winning ways.”