Fighting fans mar Blackpool’s pre-season friendly win at Southport

Fighting fans led to the temporary suspension of Saturday’s so-called friendly between Southport and Blackpool. Recently-appointed manager Michael Appleton kicked-off pre-season with a 2-0 win for the Championship side at their non-league neighbours.

CJ Hamilton and Beryly Lubala scored both goals against the National League North side during a bright start to a match that had to be halted around the half-hour mark as fans clashed at Haig Avenue. Some visiting supporters broke through steward barriers to confront the home fans that were goading them, leading referee Ben Speedie to call the players off the pitch.

“It makes me very sad to have to make this announcement at a friendly but the referee has stopped the game for 10 minutes,” the stadium announcer told supporters. “We would like anyone that’s on the terraces to move up to past the halfway line and if anything happens like that again the referee has made it clear he will be abandoning this match, so behave yourselves.”

Play resumed after that break and fans were again warned about the potential for abandonment at half-time, when the Kaiser Chiefs’ ‘I Predict a Riot’ was on the playlist.

Appleton changed his entire line-up for the second half at Haig Avenue, where there was no further fan disorder – or goals – in front of a 1,451 crowd.