Next up: Southport Venue: Rivacre Park Date: Saturday, April 2: WHEN prolific marksman Terry Fearns quit Vauxhall in May last year after three net-busting seasons, manager Owen Brown defiantly declared: 'We'll still finish above Southport.'
Almost 11 months on and with the campaign drawing to a close, the Motormen boss's optimistic prediction has, un-like Fearns' finishing in front of goal, proved to be well wide of the mark.
The Sandgrounders are set for a return to the Conference after a two-year exile and currently lead the Nationwide North table, while Brown's side are struggling to stay in the division.
Southport took their time to adapt to life in their new UniBond League surroundings last season and eventually finished sixth, just three places above Vauxhall.
But while the Motormen's current campaign has stalled badly after losing their ace striker, his new club have already benefited from his attacking prowess.
Fearns, 27, who struck 111 times for Vauxhall between 2001-04, has already bagged more than 30 goals this term, the fourth consecutive year he has achieved such a feat.
His abundant strikes have propelled Liam Watson's bigspending Southport side to the top of the table at a time when Vauxhall have been regularly failing to hit the net.
Also returning to Rivacre Park for the first time as an opposition player on Saturday is former Vauxhall skipper Kevin Lynch.
The hard-working midfielder became the club's first cash signing when he arrived at the Motormen from Prescot Cables in 2000, but he followed team-mate Fearns to Haig Avenue last summer.
Last season: Won 3-2 on Saturday, January 31, 2004.
The Motormen's first league victory in 13 attempts and inaugural UniBond League success for manager Owen Brown, ending an awful winless streak going back to October 7, 2003.
The team's poor fortune had looked like continuing on 17 minutes when Kevin Leadbetter's shot took a massive deflection off Wayne McDermott and sailed over keeper Tim Dittmer.
Vauxhall levelled proceedings nine minutes later when Carl Nesbitt threaded a pinpoint pass through the South-port defence and Terry Fearns beat the offside trap to score.
There was more drama late in the half when a Fearns shot was handled by Danny Stone on 42 minutes but Peter Cumiskey's low-struck penalty was pushed wide for a corner kick by Dickinson, who got down well, while Southport's Steve Pickford was sent off following a late challenge on Robbie Lawton for a second booking.
Neil Robinson restored the visitors' lead on the hour, firing home unmarked at the back post, but less than a minute later, Cumiskey snatched a second home equaliser from the left hand side of the area.
With 15 minutes remaining, Cumiskey cut inside from the left to dispatch a trademark right-footed inswinging shot to win the game.
Form guide: March 28 W 2-1 v Moor Green (H); March 26 W 3-0 v Ashton United (A); March 22 L 3-2 v Harrogate Town (H); March 19 D 0-0 v Barrow (H); March 12 D 0-0 v Stafford Rangers (H).