Match report by Dave McMillan
Marine got their 2012-13 League campaign off to the perfect start on Saturday, by beating Eastwood Town 2-0 at a very warm Arriva Stadium.
Fine margins are so often the difference in tight games, the Badgers looking a useful outfit who hit the woodwork twice, in an open and entertaining game.
The Mariners ultimately prevailed through better delivery of the ball in to the box and some clinical finishing, both sides having other chances with the goalkeepers also busy with some outstanding saves.
Indeed Ryan McMahon
had to be alert within the first thirty seconds, racing off his line to challenge TJ Nightingale after the Town striker had chased a ball over the top.
Greg Simmons collected the ball and turned to shoot over, but Marine had the first real sight of goal after Jon Goulding’s shot was blocked, Karl Noon
following up with a powerful drive which Ian Deakin pushed away at full stretch.
A goal did arrive after 27 minutes and what a good one it was, Andy Fowler
intercepting a pass to free Michael Ordish
for the winger to scamper away down the left, his early cross being thumped in to the roof of the net from close range by debutant Marcus Carver
for an excellent team goal.
The Badgers responded well, John Shaw clearing Paolo Piliero’s dangerous cross under heavy pressure, before Simmons sent a thunderous 25 yard drive against the bar with McMahon a spectator.
Piliero should probably have scored when heading Fabian Smith’s tasty cross over the top from inside the six yard box, but it was the Mariners who grabbed the crucial second goal of the game two minutes before the interval.
did well to pinch the ball off Piliero, releasing Fowler to maraud down the right and completely ignore Carver in yards of space in the middle, the Whites’ Svengali backing his own ability and being proved emphatically correct by rifling the ball across Deakin in to the bottom corner.
Carver – enjoying a lively debut – saw a half volley whistle narrowly wide of Deakin’s near post at the start of the second half, before nodding a corner over the top as the sides started to suffer in the heat.
Simmons hit the woodwork again for the Badgers, this time exchanging passes on the edge of the box to draw a bead on goal, his rising drive looking destined for the top corner but finding the outside of a post.
Fowler might well have had a hat trick late on as the game stretched, cutting in from near the goal line with Deakin equal to the challenge, the Town keeper then denying the striker as he attempted to slide the ball home from the left of the box after Carver had played him in.
Eastwood substitute Alex Troke fired in a strong drive from the left which brought an excellent save from McMahon to turn the ball away, before Fowler had another chance in the dying minutes which brought another fine stop from Deakin.
The action was pretty much end to end by now, Anthony Griffiths flashing a shot very close to the far post but that was their last chance as the Mariners took the first three points of the season and notched an excellent win.
Marine: Ryan McMahon
(Cap), Shaun Dowling
, John Shaw, Matty Brown
, Danny Grannon
, Robbie Lawton
, Andy Fowler
, Jonathan Goulding
(Thomas Moore 68), Marcus Carver
, Karl Noon
76), Michael Ordish
(Paul Lundon 76).
Unused subs: Liam Duff
Eastwood Town: Ian Deakin, Fabian Smith, Paul Riley (Cap), Danny Elliott, Romaine Graham (Alex Troke 83), Deon Meikle, Greg Simmons, Anthony Gregory (Curtis Shaw 65), Tyiesse Nightingale, Paris Simmons (Anthony Griffiths 49), Paolo Piliero.
Unused subs: Jermaine Hollis, Sam Andrew (G/K).
Referee: Mr. Danny Gratton (Stone); Assistants Mr. Scott Simpson (Stoke), Mr. Kevin Allsop (Stafford).