A brace from Matty Warburton, alongside a fine Jason Oswell finish, ensured County made it to the first round of the FA Trophy for the second season running, with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Southport in the Wednesday night replay.
County began on the front foot from the off, and could have gone 1-0 up when Jason Oswell was put through on goal, however his weak shot straight at Southport goalkeeper Jon Worsnop.
But the division’s top scorer was not to be denied for long, and in the 19th minute he put his side ahead with a curled finish following a Warburton through-ball.
It was 2-0 shortly after, when the impressive Warburton was clipped by Steve Howson inside the Southport area, the County number 10 stepped up and put the ball past Worsnop to give the Hatters a comfortable lead at half-time.
HT: Southport 0-2 County
Southport came out fighting with goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe being called into action from an inswinging Brad Jackson cross.
But County were finding luck on the break, Kallum Mantack and Ben McKenna were causing problems from the wings, with the former seeing his shot saved comfortably.
On the 65th minute, County made the game safe though, a fantastic counter-attack, good work from McKenna saw Jimmy Ball’s shot saved by the Southport ‘keeper, before Warburton poked the parried shot into the bottom corner to make it three.
McKenna and substitute Darren Stephenson had chances to add the scoreline against their former club, but both saw their shots saved by Worsnop and the game finished a satisfying 3-0.
Not the biggest win of the season by any stretch, but Jim Gannon will take comfort from a solid away performance and clean sheet against a side that have splashed out big this year.
An away game at Lancaster City awaits County in the next round, with the Hatters heading to Giant Axe Stadium on the 16th December.
FT: Southport 0-3 County
Scorers: Oswell (19), Warburton (32, 65)
Squad: Hinchliffe, Cowan, Smalley, O’Halloran (C), Mantack, McKenna, Ball (Winter 68), Stopforth, Dixon, Warburton (Duxbury, 70), Oswell (Stephenson, 76).
Unused: Ormson, Etches.