Still at a loss to explain Southport defeat

Town boss John Still couldn’t put a finger on why his side turned in such a lacklustre performance during their opening day defeat at Southport on Saturday, writes Mike Simmonds.

Sunday, 11th August 2013, 10:11 am
Steve McNulty is dismissed at Southport

After a fantastic pre-season campaign, Hatters were desperately poor during the first half, going behind to Jamie Milligan’s deflected free kick, before Steve McNulty was sent off in the second period.

Although Town improved late on, with Andre Gray going close and Shaun Whalley seeing his penalty saved, Still thought the Sandgrounders were worthy winners.

Still he said: “The level of performance was nowhere near good enough, nowhere near, I’m the manager, I should know why, but I don’t know.

“It was fully deserved. I thought that their energy was greater than ours in the first half.

“Their way of playing was more intense than ours, I felt that they played greater to the strengths that they had than we did.

“We never got ourselves going as we had in preseason, but pre-season doesn’t tell you the story, it just tells you how fit and organised you are.

“The second half we played with more intensity, greater intensity, without looking convincing.

“We took a chance at the end, tried to push on when Macca (Steve McNulty) came off. That made it much harder for us, we got the penalty, but it didn’t go in.

“We have to look at that, and put it in a category of that’s nowhere near good enough.

“The performance, not the result. Sometimes in all games, home and away, you can play really well and it doesn’t go for you.”

Despite the disappointment, Still wasn’t panicking ahead of Tuesday night’s home clash with Salisbury.

On how he would respond, the boss said: “Get a magic wand and touch everyone with it. No, we go back to work on Monday, remind people of what their responsibilities are, remind people of what we worked on in pre-season.

“Having been in the game as long as I have, I’ve been where you don’t get a result and things look a bit gloomy, then you go on a run and you win loads of them.

“Having won this league on a couple of occasions, I can assure you it wasn’t plain sailing, not by a long way, so it’s back to work on Monday.”

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