Match report by Dave McMillan
’s goal seven minutes in to the second half gave Marine three more points on Saturday, as they defeated Buxton 1-0 at a sunny Arriva Stadium.
Johnson has made a habit of popping up with vital goals recently, this one being his third in the last three games to put the Mariners back in to the play off places, the Crosby side now having won their last three home games and interestingly having taken seven more points than at the same stage last season, when they missed the play off cut by six points.
As 1-0 wins go this was as comfortable as they come, with the Mariners missing two great chances in the first few minutes and Buxton not testing Ryan McMahon
on too many occasions.
- fresh back from the World Cup - was put through by Aaron Rey
inside the opening minute, bearing down on goal with Scott Hartley doing well to advance and block the shot.
Harvey then missed a glorious chance to score after more good work from Rey, the former Prescot man sprinting away down the right and squaring for what looked a simple tap in, the Bajan international not connecting cleanly to allow Hartley to scramble back and claim the ball.
Buxton came back in to the game with some good passing and crosses which McMahon dealt with competently, before Harvey took the ball on his chest from John Shaw’s header to volley over the top.
The visitors threatened when Shaw had to pull off a great saving tackle on Steve Ridley as he shaped to shoot, Mark Reed collecting the loose ball but firing high and wide of the target.
Harvey - who on another day might have had at least a hat trick - had a goal bound effort blocked, and then saw a rising drive clip the top of the bar after a neat turn inside the area.
Reed might have done better for the Bucks just before half time, the marksman getting on the end of a cross at the far post but directing his header wide, under pressure from Ian Latham
Buxton enjoyed a decent spell prior to the break with substitute Tommy Agus bringing a save from McMahon with a stinging free kick, the custodian turning the shot over the crossbar for a corner.
Marine got the winning goal after a lively opening to the second half, Johnson breaking through a challenge before steering the ball inside the far post from just outside of the penalty area.
Controversy erupted late on when Thomas Moore tried his luck from distance, Hartley parrying with Johnson scampering after it wide on the left of the box, with the keeper haring out and appearing to flatten the winger.
Referee Mr. Lamb indicated that Hartley had got the ball but in the final analysis it mattered little as the Mariners recorded their second league double of the season.
Marine: Ryan McMahon
(Cap), Paul Lundon, Ian Latham
, Sam Barnes
, John Shaw, Thomas Moore (Karl Brown
87), Andy Fowler
58), Jonathan Goulding
, Neil Harvey
72), Aaron Rey
, Stephen Johnson
Unused subs: Matty Brown
, Peter Cumiskey
. Cautions: Goulding.
Buxton: Scott Hartley, Grant Black, Josh
Wilde, Sam Liversedge, Louis Horne (Tommy Agus 38), Scott Maxfield (Cap), Neil Stevens (Sam Johnson 82), Michael Towey, Mark Reed, Kieran Lugsden, Steve Ridley (David Taylor 72).
Unused subs: Martin Pembleton, Danny Hopkins. Cautions: Black, Lugsden.
Referee: Mr. Barry Lamb (Eccles); Assistants Mr. Joseph Perselli (Urmston), Mr. Paul Connett (Urmston).