Gateshead go into this afternoon’s game at home to Macclesfield Town desperate to end a losing start to the season that was stretched to four games at the weekend.
The managerless Tynesiders lost 2-1 for the third consecutive game, Southport the latest side to get the better of an under-achieving Gateshead.
Macclesfield are also searching for their first win and played with ten men for the whole of the second half on Saturday when drawing with newcomers FC Halifax Town at the Moss Rose.
It’s a golden opportunity for Gateshead, from whom much is expected this season, to get back on track before they benefit from the usual shot in the arm that a new man at the helm brings.
David Rush has stepped into the breach as caretaker-manager and will again be in charge against the Silkmen.
There are many managers currently out of work with promotion-winning CV’s keen to take over at Gateshead, but Rush remains focused only on the present.
“It’s a case of taking each game as it comes and seeing where that takes us,” said Rush. “It didn’t go to plan in the first half at Southport, but we were much better in the second half.
“The triple substitution and change of formation made all the difference. We had 70% possession after the break and bossed the final half hour but couldn’t find an equaliser. In the end we deserved something out of the game. We won 4-0 at Macclesfield last season when every-thing clicked and I feel something similar coming soon.
“It is important we get our season up and running and, without putting more pressure on the players, we have to turn the corner against Macclesfield. I didn’t want to take over at Gateshead in these circumstances, but I’ve got a job to do and it will lift everyone’s spirits if we can get three points this afternoon.”
It was typical of Gateshead’s current plight that they should be undone by a player they tried to sign during the close season, Karl Ledsham.
Southport’s goalscoring midfield man scored both of his side’s goals in the first half, the first a 33rd-minute header into the bottom corner and the second, in injury time, a 16-yard left foot volley into the far top corner.
Captain Ben Clark and schemer Jamie Chandler both had clear-cut chances for the Tynesiders, but Clark put a free header wide and Chandler was denied by Port keeper Danny Hurst’s legs.
Gateshead were galvanised by a triple substitution - and change of system - on the hour mark, sub Richard Brodie pulling a goal back within three minutes from Colin Larkin’s cross.
SOUTHPORT: Hurst, Challinor, Fitzpatrick, George, Flynn, Chalmers, Ledsham (Irie-Bi 83), Brown (Milligan 70), Hattersley (Tames 73), Rutherford, Osawe. Subs (not used): Stevenson, Smith.
Goal: Ledsham (33, 45)
GATESHEAD: Bartlett, Baxter, O’Brien, Chandler, Magnay, Clark, Marwood (Walker (58), Turnbull, Hatch (Brodie 58), Larkin, Maddison (Boyes 58). Subs (not used): Nixon (gk), Ramshaw.
Goal: Brodie (61)
Referee: Richard Wigglesworth (Doncaster).