Marine 1-1 Blackburn Rovers
Mariners and Rovers all-square at MTA...
Marine emerged with a creditable draw in their latest pre-season fixture against the Blackburn Rovers Development Squad.
The Lancastrian side enjoyed plenty of possession throughout and early efforts from Rankin-Costello and the impressive Thompson flew a yard wide of Ben Barnes' left-hand upright.
A Rovers corner played in from their left then was met by Maloire who rose highest, however the defender couldn't keep his header down as the ball sailed over the College Road crossbar.
Midway through the first period Marine produced their first clear sight of goal as debutant George Hassel played Michael Brewster into the box but the midfielder's effort was pushed past the post by visiting 'keeper Albinson. From the resulting corner Michael Grogan found himself well-placed but his header flew wide of goal.
However, the Mariners did take the lead ten minutes before the break as Brewster's excellent work on the right afforded him the space to cross towards the near-post. Hassel timed his run perfectly to get in front of the last defender and direct a well-placed header just inside the far post.
Early in the second half Hassel spurned a glorious chance to notch his second of the afternoon having been gifted possession by substitute stopper Dillon, but his fierce volley was directed straight at the 'keeper who was able to atone for his initial error.
Rovers found their equaliser soon afterwards as substitute Mols' header from a left-wing cross struck the post and striker Nuttall reacted quickest to sidefoot home from eight yards.
Blackburn were now firmly on the front foot and a lovely pass was slipped through to Nuttall whose first-time shot was well-blocked by Barnes, who recovered his position brilliantly to keep out Mols' follow-up effort.
The Mariners pressed forward and with the visiting 'keeper and his defenders once again taking liberties Brewster pinched possession but was unable to beat Dillon from an acute angle.
With 20 minutes remaining a trip inside the area on Nuttall gave the Rovers striker the opportunity to score his second of the afternoon from the spot, but Barnes was again equal to the task and made the save low to his left to preserve parity and further enhance his claims for the number one shirt in Tommy Lawson's team.
The Blackburn youngsters finished the game strongly and Nuttall was played through on the left side of the Marine box, his low cross-shot falling for Mols who arrived at the far post but could only steer his first-time effort into the side-netting.
In the final few minutes neat approach from Rovers saw the ball played into Paton's path but the substitute scuffed his shot when well-placed and the Mariners were able to clear, ensuring that the result was a fair reflection of a competitive contest played in sporting spirit throughout.
Marine: Ben Barnes (Germano Mendez 85), Kisimba Kisimba (Matty Hamilton 68), John Shaw, Peter Wylie (c), Adam Hughes, Michael Grogan, Kenny Strickland (Alan Burton 72), Michael Brewster (Jonathan Goulding 76), George Hassel (Harry Blackburn 79), James Murray (A Trialist 61), James Edgar.
Blackburn Rovers: Charlie Albinson (Aaron Dillon 46), Tyler Maloire (Charley Doyle 46), Jack Doyle, Willem Tomlinson (Stefan Mols 46), Matthew Platt, Joe Grayson, Lewis Travis (Jack Evans 72), Lewis Hardcastle (Ben Paton 72), Joe Nuttall, Joe Rankin-Costello, Connor Thompson.
Goals: Marine; Hassel (35)
Blackburn; Nuttall (54)
Referee: Mr Lewis Raper
Assistants: Mr Luis Griffiths and Mr Joel Christopher.