Mariners in Trophy heartbreak at Rivacre Park...
Match report by Dave McMillan
Marine exited the FA Trophy on Saturday, going out 3-2 at Rivacre Park at the hands of Conference North Vauxhall Motors in the Third Qualifying Round.
Marine have found getting in to the latter stages of FA Competitions as difficult as inserting a marshmallow in to a parking meter in recent seasons, but it was a case of so near and yet so far in this tie, the Crosby side doing enough to have had a second bite at the cherry.
Motors had the better of the first half but found themselves 2-1 down at the break, whilst a reversal of fortunes in the second half saw the Mariners unable to kill the tie when on top in an entertaining encounter.
Leighton McGivern and Kevin Holsgrove gave the Marine defence a stern examination, the former having a good chance early on but scuffing his shot wide of the post.
McGivern had the ball in the Marine net soon afterwards, knocking home the loose ball after Dan Fearnehough’s shot had come back off the crossbar, but fortunately for the Yellows the assistant’s flag was fluttering in the wind to signal offside.
The Motormen were making most of the early running and it was no surprise when they opened the scoring on 8 minutes, McGivern collecting a cross from the right and shooting in to the bottom corner from just inside the area.
Neil Harvey had a sight of goal for Marine, the ball dropping nicely for him to volley from long range with Scott Tynan collecting in the home net.
Marine were suddenly in control of the tie with two goals in as many minutes, Ian Latham advancing in to space down the left and feeding Aaron Rey, his testing low cross deflecting in to the net off Paul Jones for an own goal on 37 minutes.
The second goal was a peach, some neat approach play from Harvey and new signing Robbie Lawton setting up Joe Fowler 25 yards out, the midfield man picking his spot with a lovely sidefoot finish in to the top corner to give Marine the lead.
Ryan McMahon had to be on top form to parry an effort from Holsgrove as the big striker cut in from the left, as the first half came to a close.
One had the feeling that there were more goals in the tie and really it was Marine who should have wrapped it up during a dominant period in the second half, Stephen Lewis getting to the by line and pulling the ball back for Fowler to shoot over from close range.
Further efforts were cleared off the line, most notably from a Matty Brown header following a free kick as the home side had to employ some last ditch defending to keep the Mariners at bay.
The fourth goal of the game was always likely to prove crucial and it was Motors who got it after 68 minutes, Holsgrove doing well to get a dangerous centre across goal with the ball going in off the unfortunate Rey, in a reminder of how cruel the game can sometimes be after the striker had scored the winner at Bradford.
Jonathan Goulding brought the save of the game from Tynan with a rising drive from 25 yards which was whistling towards the top corner, the home keeper pulling off a full length stop to tip the ball away for a corner.
Vauxhall always looked lively on the break with Holsgrove and McGivern a constant threat, but were handed a winning goal on 78 minutes after Craig Mahon burst down the right of the box, before being felled by Latham for a nailed on penalty.
McGivern stepped up to fire the spot kick past McMahon, and should then have put the tie beyond doubt late on when firing wide after going clean through.
Marine almost snatched a replay right at the death as Matty Brown went forward in the best Mick Lyons tradition, latching on to Thomas Moore’s through pass and shooting as Tynan advanced, only to see the ball drift agonisingly wide of the far post.
Vauxhall Motors: Scott Tynan, Dan Fearnehough, John Bennett, Tom Hannigan, Paul Jones (Cap), Matty Burke (Steve Beck 82), Craig Mahon, David Mannix, Leighton McGivern, Kevin Holsgrove, John Lawless (Cole Stockton 75).
Unused subs: Chris Noone, Enzo Benn, Lloyd Saxton. Cautions: Mannix, McGivern.
Marine: Ryan McMahon (Cap), Paul Lundon (Paul Brown 80), Ian Latham, John Shaw, Matty Brown, Robbie Lawton, Joe Fowler, Jonathan Goulding, Stephen Lewis (Carl Gargan 62), Neil Harvey (Thomas Moore 87), Aaron Rey.
Referee: Mr. M. Bristow; Assistants Mr. J. Hayes, Mr. O. Lynn.