Match report by Dave McMillan
Marine kicked off the 2011-12 season with a narrow win at the Arriva Stadium, Andy Fowler
’s debut goal in the 72nd minute giving the Crosby side the verdict over Stocksbridge Park Steels.
The game – perhaps unsurprisingly – didn’t reach the heights of last season’s 5-4 thrillerama, but was absorbing enough with plenty of goalmouth action at either end.
Steels certainly made this a tough afternoon for Marine, being a physically big and strong side who proved a handful, particularly up front with twin strikers Jack Muldoon and Mark Ward giving the home central defenders a torrid time.
Marine had plenty of quality themselves going forward and this was enough to prove the difference, Fowler once again impressing as did Louis Barnes
with several incisive runs to give the home side the edge.
was also a handful for the Stocksbridge defence and was the first to threaten, latching on to an underpowered header with Ben Scott racing off his line to block.
Matt Telling had a half chance for the visitors but couldn’t keep his shot down, with Harvey again in action at the other end with an angled shot, Scott clutching the ball at full stretch.
Steels had their best chance of the half following a long ball over the top, John Shaw hesitating to let Muldoon pounce with Ryan McMahon
producing a great challenge to deny the forward.
set Harvey away down the left to attempt to round Scott, the keeper just getting to the ball first to leave the Marine man requiring treatment.
The action continued with Stocksbridge having a couple of decent openings, Telling firing in a powerful effort which looked to be heading for the top corner, Shaw diving in to divert the ball for a corner.
From the kick centre half Richard Haigh got his head to the ball without any real power, McMahon gathering comfortably.
Marine were still looking dangerous going forward with Jon Goulding passing to Harvey, this time the striker’s effort being cleared for a corner and then Barnes embarking on a strong run, his low cross fielded by Scott at the foot of the near post.
McMahon had to be alert to beat away Muldoon’s strong drive from the right of the box as the visitors broke, before the half time whistle sounded with little to choose between the teams.
Muldoon and Andy Fowler
both had good shots well saved by the respective goalkeepers early in the second half, with Marine slowly gaining the upper hand as the game progressed.
Barnes’ clever backheel fashioned an opening for Thomas Moore, the home sub shooting but seeing the ball deflected narrowly wide of the target.
Steels had a great chance to grab the lead when Muldoon seized on Barnes’ misplaced pass, bursting through on goal but lifting his shot over the bar.
The miss proved costly as Marine were soon a goal up, Harvey providing a neat lay off for Fowler to ghost past a challenge, before drilling a low shot in to the net off the inside of the far post from 15 yards.
His namesake Joe almost made it two with the Mariners in the ascendency, firing in a rasping 25 yarder which Scott did well to push away for a corner.
Steels had strong penalty appeals for handball waved away late on but Marine saw out time without any further scares to put their first three points of the season on the board.
Marine: Ryan McMahon
(Cap), Paul Lundon, John Shaw, Matty Brown
, Dave Roberts
54), Joe Fowler
, Andy Fowler
, Jonathan Goulding
80), Neil Harvey
, Darren Byers
(Thomas Moore 61), Louis Barnes
Unused subs: Sam Barnes
, Ian Latham
. Cautions: Joe Fowler
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Ben Scott, Anthony Lloyd, Kevin Davies (Danny Joynes 84), Richard Haigh, Brett Lovell (Cap), Dominic Riordan, Glyn Cotton (Mickey Blythen 73), Matt Telling, Jack Muldoon, Mark Ward (Andy Ring 67), Chris Adam.
Unused subs: Darren Schofield, Zeph Thomas. Cautions: Riordan.
Referee: Mr. Craig Buxton; Assistants Mr. Paul Bell, Mr. Mark Brown (all Accrington).