Match report by Dave McMillan
Marine consolidated their position of second in the table with a 2-1 win on Saturday, Kevin Lynch’s men beating Stocksbridge Park Steels in an entertaining game at the Arriva Stadium.
Another day might well have seen the Mariners bag a hatful, Steels’ keeper Xavier Parisi pulling off a string of top saves to keep his team in the game with the visitors then coming close to grabbing a point late on.
The Whites served notice early on, Andy Fowler firing in a rasping effort which Parisi tipped acrobatically over his crossbar.
It was only a temporary reprieve though for Stocksbridge as Marine opened the scoring with just six minutes elapsed, Shaun Dowling’s powerful drive going straight at Parisi with the gloveman fumbling the ball over the line.
Steels responded well and forced a corner and free kick in rapid succession, without putting any real pressure on the home goal.
Marcus Carver looked favourite to double Marine’s advantage, bearing down on goal with Parisi redeeming himself – not for the last time – with a great block to deny the club’s leading scorer.
Dowling – looking more like Roberto Carlos by the week – sent over a testing cross which was headed behind for a corner, Cole Payne replying at the other end with a run down the left and a shot in to the side netting.
The Marine full back was soon in action again, feeding Nick Rogan inside the box with the striker turning neatly, before sending a shot narrowly wide of an upright.
Marine continued to press with Matty Brown’s header from a corner being cleared off the line, but Stocksbridge equalised with their first effort on target, Danny South powering home a header from a left wing corner after 31 minutes.
Carver and Alan Burton had half chances for the Crosby side before Rogan put in a tidy low cross, Fowler connecting at the far post but Parisi producing another good stop to keep the scores level at half time.
The Mariners had two very good chances to go back in to the lead early in the second half, substitute Karl Noon teeing up Carver to shoot too close to Parisi with Carver then turning provider, Rogan’s shot destined for the net but somehow staying out courtesy of a last ditch clearance.
Stocksbridge provided a warning that they were still very much in the game, Chris Bettney advancing on goal but dragging his shot well wide of the target.
Marine regained the lead after 69 minutes with a well worked goal, Rogan – outstanding once again despite a dose of man flu – controlling skilfully and turning to cross to the far post for John Shaw to tuck the ball home.
Andy Ring had a decent shot which Callum Williams clutched at the foot of his near post, with Paul Brown having a similar effort half blocked before Parisi was able to smother the ball.
Steels came very close to squaring the match in a double let off for the Mariners, Richard Haigh connecting with a corner from point blank range which Williams did well to keep out, the ball coming back in for former FC United full back Nick Swirad to head down, the bounce taking it against the crossbar.
James Booker got behind the home defence in the dying minutes, clipping his shot wide as Williams raced out of his area before Burton had a chance to wrap things up for the Mariners, going clean through with Parisi once again doing well to come out and block the shot.
Marine: Callum Williams, Shaun Dowling, John Shaw, Matty Brown (Cap), Danny Grannon, Robbie Lawton, Andy Fowler (Karl Noon 45), Jonathan Goulding, Marcus Carver (Paul Brown 63), Nick Rogan, Alan Burton.
Unused subs: Michael Ordish, Paul Lundon, Ryan McMahon (G/K). Cautions: None.
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Xavier Parisi, Nick Swirad, Ben Turner, Richard Haigh (Cap), Brett Bowden-Lovell, Alex Callery (John Beggs 76), Janni Lipka, Danny South, Nathan Joynes (James Booker 59), Cole Payne (Andy Ring 51).
Unused subs: Harry Bockarie, Darren Schofield. Cautions: Callery.
Referee: Mr. Mark Astley (Denton); Assistants Mr. Paul Wilcox (Heywood), Mr. Stephen Cundall (Manchester).