Match Report by Dave McMillan
Marine progressed in to the last 16 of the Evo-Stik League Challenge Cup with a 2-1 win at Burscough’s Victoria Park on Tuesday night.
Two earlier cup visits to this part of West Lancashire have also resulted in Marine wins, this time though Groundhog Day Part III would have seen Punxsatawney Phil reluctant to emerge from his burrow as the mercury fell to a couple of degrees above freezing.
A sheen of frost coated the playing surface as the teams kicked off, Burscough having a couple of chances inside the opening 20 minutes with the Mariners then enjoying much the better of the half, the 2-0 score at half time being about the right reflection of proceedings.
Thomas Moore had the first chance with a header clipping the bar from Sean Doherty’s corner, before the Greens responded with two efforts from Zak Riley, a shot fizzing narrowly wide of Ryan McMahon’s goal and then a header from a free kick also going wide.
Jamie Rainford had a free kick fielded by Sean Lake in the home goal with Stephen Johnson also having a good chance, latching on to Rainford’s flick but shooting wide of the near post from the right of the area.
Another free kick, this time rolled short by Steve Hussey in to the path of Rainford, whistled inches wide of the post as the visitors continued to press.
They were soon in the lead with 44 minutes gone with a well worked goal, Hussey freeing John Shaw on the left and the full back sending over an inviting cross, Doherty netting with a nicely timed run and header in to the top corner.
A second goal arrived within in a minute, Doherty stroking a corner to the right edge of the box and Johnson dispatching a rocket in to the net via a combination of crossbar and goalkeeper’s head, a cracking 25 yard strike to warm the cockles before the break.
The second half saw much less goalmouth action as the cold seeped in to the players’ bones, the general midfield hubbub being lifted with Johnson’s effort deflected over by Burscough’s Riley, with substitute Peter Cumiskey providing a couple of flashes of the soft shoe shuffle late on.
Burscough didn’t really find much to trouble the Marine goal, Kevin Leadbetter seeing a free kick dip just over before Marine handed them a goal, John Shaw’s back pass to McMahon nestling in the net after 78 minutes.
Fortunately for the by now numbed spectators, including a good turnout from Crosby, Marine defended their lead fairly comfortably to avoid the spectre of extra time and book their place in the hat for the next round.
Burscough: Sean Lake, Lewis Fields, Shaun Holden, James McCulloch, Shaun Callacher, Zak Riley (Cap), Jordan Smethurst (Kevin Leadbetter 57), Shaun Judge, Aaron Bowen (Matty Parry 57), Gary McEvatt (Darren Byers 75), Darren Brookfield.
Unused subs: James Connolly, Michael Christopher. Cautions: None.
Marine: Ryan McMahon, Paul Lundon (Joe Fowler 78), John Shaw, Tony Davies, Thomas Moore (Cap), Steve Hussey, Sean Doherty, Stephen Brown, Liam Rushton, Jamie Rainford (Peter Cumiskey 62), Stephen Johnson.
Unused subs: Jonathan Goulding, Jack Booth, Phil Brazier. Cautions: Moore, Brown.
Referee: Mr. S. A. Oldham; Assistants Mr. N. J. Croft, Mr. C. Porter.