WARRINGTON Town fell to only their second home defeat of the calendar year as they missed the chance to climb into the National League North play-off places.

Mark Beesley’s side were comfortably beaten at home by Southport, who netted twice before half time to leave the hosts with too much to do.

Richie Bennett’s composed early finish established an early lead for the Sandgrounders, who doubled their advantage when Marcus Carver strode through to clip beyond Dan Atherton just before half time.

Town huffed and puffed to try and get back into the game but struggled to create anything sustained before Adam Anson poked home from a corner to ensure Southport avenged their opening-day defeat to Yellows.

> Read what Town boss Mark Beesley had to say about the game here

Warrington Guardian: Matty McDonald finds himself surrounded by Southport defendersMatty McDonald finds himself surrounded by Southport defenders (Image: Sean Walsh)

Matt Turner's verdict on proceedings below

THERE have been plenty of nights to remember at Cantilever Park this season, and not too many to forget.

Unfortunately, though, this falls firmly into the latter category.

On what could have been a significant night for Warrington Town – a win would have taken them into the play-off spots – they were firmly beaten by a well-organised and clinical Southport side.

The very fact victory would have taken them sixth means criticising this showing in isolation too much would be churlish. After all, who would have picked them to be in such a position with 10 games of the season left.

However, while they got away with a somewhat flat display against Bishop's Stortford at the weekend, they had no such luck here.

Warrington Guardian: Connor Woods was kept quiet against his former club, whom he left to join Town last yearConnor Woods was kept quiet against his former club, whom he left to join Town last year (Image: Sean Walsh)

And as a result, the club’s new stand was christened by jubilant Sandgrounders fans who revelled in their side avenging their opening-day thrashing at Town’s hands.

With the advantage given to them by Richie Bennett’s superb finish, it was one the visitors rarely looked like giving up despite the hosts having the lion’s share of possession and territory.

Bennett and Marcus Carver, whose delightful clipped finish knocked all of the wind out of Town’s sails, form about as experienced a front two as you will find in the National League North and ultimately, they proved the difference.

They were deadly when chances presented themselves, whereas the hosts were not.

Opting for the mobile front four of Matty Grivosti, Matty McDonald and former Port duo Isaac Buckley-Ricketts and Connor Woods can be fluid when it works but as they got dragged further and further into a physical battle, there was only one winner.

Had they struck back before Carver’s goal, things may have gone differently and there were a few signs they were building towards doing so, but that goal gave them too much to do.

Even in the second half, with Josh Amis thrown on to add extra heft, they were starting to build towards something of a riposte - Amis himself came closest when he saw a header tipped onto the post by Southport stopper Chris Renshaw.

Shortly afterwards, though, conceded a preventable third goal from a set piece - a trend that is becoming concerningly common for Town - as Adam Anson found space in a crowded penalty area to poke home from a corner.

Warrington Guardian: Josh Amis came closest to a goal for Town as he had a header tipped onto the postJosh Amis came closest to a goal for Town as he had a header tipped onto the post (Image: Sean Walsh)

All three goals would probably fall into the avoidable category and as a result, there are wounds to lick in the Town dressing room.

There remains plenty to play for in the remaining nine games, so Mark Beesley’s key task now is to ensure this deflating loss does not bring about a sustained dip in form to end what remains a memorable season.

Warrington Town: Atherton, Hannigan, Harris (Gumbs), Woods, Williams, McDonald, Pasiek (Walker), Buckley-Ricketts, Wisdom, Grivosti (Amis), Clarke. Subs not used: Goudie, Brooks