Paul Blackett is delighted to be back for the final three games of the Vanarama National League North.
Gateshead went two goals ahead at Gateshead International Stadium, but Southport halved the deficit just before half time.
Owen Bailey’s late strike restored the two-goal cushion, bringing The Heed one step closer to promotion.
“We went ahead early,” explained Blackett.
“We didn’t take control of the game the way we like to, but it shows the character of the boys.
“To carry on battling and get the goal at the end to seal things up, it’s a brilliant feeling amongst the squad at the minute.”
The forward made his first appearance in over three months, replacing Dan Ward on the 84 minute mark.
“Personally, I’m delighted to be back out there,” he said.
“I’ve been having problems with my groins, I had to undergo surgery on both sides.
“It’s been a long lay-off, one I didn’t really see coming unfortunately.
“To return just in time for the final few games is massive – it’s not about me though, it’s about the team.
“We’re one step closer to our goal now and we’re all focused on Monday.”
Mike Williamson’s side travel to Chorley for the penultimate game of the season on Monday with the chance to secure the Vanarama National League North title should results go their way, and Blackett is swiftly turning his attention to the next test.
“The main thing now is to recover,” added Blackett.
“We’ve got one day to rest up then we’re straight back at it.
“Chorley will be a tough game, they’re a good team but we’re focusing on ourselves as always.
“We’ll approach the game in the same way as any other and see where it takes us.”