With the rain gushing down from off the Mersey the travelling Harriers fans were lucky to see this game actually take place. The gates to Haig Avenue were still locked with forty five minutes to kick off and it was a fair bet that some Harriers fans were starting to think that it could be a wasted journey.
They needn't have worried though, the game did take place, and we won it too with a well taken strike from substitute Luke Reynolds just minutes after he came on for James Constable. We had earlier seen a missed penalty from Southports' Maamria and what could have been an equalising goal dis-allowed just seconds after our goal.
This game was also memorable because it was, possibly, the last game for Iyseden Christie. He will not be available for the game against Cambridge on New Years Day but will be returning to Rochdale for discussions about his future at Spotland. It's obvious that he loves playing for the Harriers and we love having him here but it needs some quick decisions from both clubs as to what will happen before another, as yet unknown, club steps in to sign him.
There was no change from the starting line-up at Stafford with also the same old faces on the bench. It was good to have an un-changed side yet again.
It was the Harriers who started the more strongly with Michael Blackwood raiding up and down the flanks more than he has in recent games. He put in a decent cross for Russell Penn in the very first minute of the game but it was cleared for a corner before Penn could get to it.
Nine minutes later James Constable got in on the action when his header went just wide of Francois Dubourdeau's upright but after that Southport started to make the best of the poor conditions under foot and gradually got on top. Thankfully for us Scott Bevan was in great form again and managed to keep out all of the home sides efforts.
Just before the half hour came the first moment of controversy when Constable was booked for a fifty fifty challenge on the keeper. He slid in for a ball that was some way away from Dubourdeau but his momentum carried him on. The, yet again, poor referee could not see that the condition of the pitch had played a major factor in the incident and booked the un-fortunate on loan striker. His second in two games.
Shortly after Dubourdeau had to leave the game after failing to recover from the challenge and was replaced by
The card tally was equalled out five minutes later when Dino Maamria was booked for diving after an innocuous challenge.
This gave the Harriers renewed impetus as we rained! forward in search of a goal before half time. Blackwood and Gavin Hurren both went close and in stoppage time Maamria again threatened to score but Bevan again saved well from the Rushden bound striker.