Match report by Dave McMillan
Late goals from Nick Rogan put Marine back to winning ways on Tuesday night, as they beat Stafford Rangers 3-1 at the Arriva Stadium to move back to second in the table.
Kevin Lynch’s men had ten men for 75 minutes of the game following Matty Brown’s dismissal for denial of a goalscoring opportunity, with the visitors also having Levi Reid sent off after 68 minutes for an apparent kick.
Brown was unfortunate to be the first in the dressing room, with a borderline at best goalscoring opportunity, but even with 10 the Mariners more than held their own and fully deserved to take all three points.
Marine made all of the early running, Rogan and Alan Burton making Rangers keeper Adam Alcock make saves before John Shaw’s header from a corner led to a melee, Alcock again doing well to smother the ball amidst the flying leather.
Once Brown had been sent off Stafford came in to the game, although Marine manager Kevin Lynch bravely resisted the obvious temptation to withdraw a forward and put Paul Jones on at centre back.
Dean Oliver had a decent effort for the Boro with a low shot, Callum Williams diving to field the ball at the foot of a post.
Marcus Carver got away from the defence to fire over a dangerous cross, the ball being cleared before Andy Fowler could convert at the far post and then Fowler having a run and shot, leading to a corner.
At the other end Rangers were inches away from taking the lead, Ryan Brown’s free kick clipping the defensive wall and shaving the outside of a post on its way for a corner.
Marine thought they had scored through Danny Grannon, the powerful defender’s header cleared off – or possibly over – the line from a corner, some observers thinking that it was handled for good measure.
It mattered little though as the clearance came out to the lurking Burton, with the midfield man dispatching a powerful drive through a ruck of players on 43 minutes.
Stafford should have levelled seconds before the break, a free kick being headed back across goal for the unmarked Oliver to steer a header wide from six yards.
The Mariners missed an equally good chance right at the start of the second half, Rogan freeing Fowler on the right and Carver putting it over the top from close range.
Rangers squared the match after 51 minutes, Jimmy Turner’s cross being met by substitute Daniel Quinn’s downward header giving Williams no chance.
Lee Downes saw a low shot clip the outside of the post in the closest the visitors came to taking the lead, although Everall also managed to blaze over the bar from a left wing cross.
Following parity in the player numbers Marine were more dangerous coming forward, Karl Noon’s cross being met by Burton to fire over and Noon himself then having a shot blocked.
85 minutes were on the watch when Rogan won the game for Marine, a good piece of skill to turn his man and create space leading to a glorious strike in to the top corner from the left of the area, beating Alcock comprehensively before going in off the top of the far post.
Three minutes later it was all over, Rogan latching on to Jon Goulding’s astute pass to calmly control and lift the ball over the advancing gloveman, to notch a highly impressive 8th goal of the campaign from just 11 starts and wrap up the points for the Mariners.
Marine: Callum Williams, Shaun Dowling, John Shaw, Matty Brown (Cap), Danny Grannon, Robbie Lawton, Andy Fowler (Karl Noon 70), Jonathan Goulding, Marcus Carver (Paul Lundon 90), Nick Rogan (Michael Ordish 90), Alan Burton.
Unused subs: Paul Jones, Liam Rice. Cautions: Shaw, Goulding. Sent off: Brown.
Stafford Rangers: Adam Alcock, Jimmy Turner, Ryan Brown, Liam Walshe, Ryan Dicker, Peter Heler, Levi Reid, Lee Downes (Cap), Dean Oliver (Daniel Quinn 45), Simon Everall, Oliver Davies.
Unused subs: Courtney Pitt, Michael Carr, Fabrice Kasiama, Danny Read. Cautions: Turner. Sent off: Reid.
Referee: Mr. Anthony Moore (Stockport); Assistants Mr. Philip Broadbent (Hyde), Mr. Yousef Gargani (Altrincham).