Marine 4-0 Halesowen Town
Mariners produce four-star show against Yeltz at MTA...
Marine earned a welcome three points with a comfortable victory over Halesowen Town at the MTA. The returning Andy Nicholas started at centre-back in place of the injured Robbie Threlfall, whilst Danny Mitchley returned to the line-up following suspension at the expense of Obi Anoruo.
Returning to Crosby following a run of four successive away games, Sean Hessey's side made the perfect start and took the lead after just six minutes. Warren Bellew's teasing cross from the left saw a Halesowen defender fail to clear, the ball reaching Kurt Sherlock at the far post who drilled a fine low finish into the corner of the net from 15 yards.
Despite the early breakthrough the game failed to spark in a closely contested opening period, with goalscoring chances few and far between. Midway through the half Town striker Bowerman advanced to the left-sided byline but his attempted cut-back was intercepted by the alert Adam Hughes who was able to clear.
The Birmingham side were next to threaten as a corner from their right saw centre-back Digie head goalwards but Bellew's aerial challenge proved enough for the ball to drop a yard wide of Calvin Hare's left-hand post.
The Mariners managed to double their advantage five minutes before the break, as Sherlock detected Danny Mitchley's run into the area, Mitchley giving his marker the slip before calmly slotting the ball past Town 'keeper Bateman.
Halesowen midfielder Birley fired well over from distance as his team sought to reduce the deficit before half-time, but instead it was the Mariners who extended their lead two minutes before the break with another fine goal. Left-back James Short did well to create space on the left flank and his pinpoint cross found MJ Monaghan arriving to plant a downward header past Bateman from six yards.
On the stroke of half-time Bellew's curling free-kick from 25 yards was well fielded by Bateman, as Marine ended the half three goals to the good.
The second period was six minutes old when Halesowen missed a glorious opportunity to get themselves back into the contest, Birley's cross provided striker Anderson with a free header from 12 yards but the ball flew narrowly past the angle of post and crossbar.
At the other end, Bellew and Monaghan combined with the former shooting well-wide from the edge of the box. The industrious Bellew then combined with Short to find Mitchley whose curling effort from the edge of the box was inches away from making the game safe for the Whites.
Birley sent another effort from distance comfortably over the bar for the visiting Yeltz, before the Monaghan came close to grabbing his second of the afternoon as his ambitious dipping volley from all of 35 yards caught Bateman off his line but landed on the roof of the College Road net.
Manager Hessey introduced debutants Zac Thompson and Denzel Willams and the Mariners remained firmly in control, wrapping up victory on 83 minutes. Sherlock burst into the Town area only to be felled by substitute Hancocks, who had ironically been introduced on the half-hour mark. Sherlock picked himself up to send Bateman the wrong way from the spot to join Mitchley on eleven goals for the season.
Sherlock's persistence then almost paid dividends two minutes later as the ex-Stalybridge striker's cross cannoned off Town right-back Bragoli and against the post, the spheroid rebounding across the goal line and striking custodian Bateman's shin before somehow evading the aforementioned post and going behind for a corner!
Hare was then forced into making his first save of the afternoon a couple of minutes from time, the 'keeper diving to push away Hancocks' well-struck effort from outside the box.
As time elapsed Mitchley had the chance to add a fifth for Hessey's men having been played through by the excellent Monaghan, but dragged his left-footed shot well wide of target.
An emphatic win for the Mariners who next face Darlington 1883 in their FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round replay on Tuesday evening at the Marine Travel Arena (kick off at 7:45pm), with the winners of the tie travelling to face Stockport County next Saturday afternoon.
Marine: Calvin Hare, Lewis Field, James Short, Andy Nicholas, James Foley (Zac Thompson 79), Adam Hughes (Denzel Williams 85), Michael Monaghan, Billy Smart, Danny Mitchley (c), Kurt Sherlock, Warren Bellew (Jamie Horgan 79).
Unused subs: Obi Anoruo, Caleb Richards. Cautions: none.
Halesowen Town: John Bateman, Daniel Bragoli, Aaron Griffiths (James Hancocks 31), Jay Denny (c), Kennedy Digie, Asa Charlton, Jordan Goddard, Matthew Birley (George Cleet 88), Kaiman Anderson, George Bowerman, Lee Chilton (Malcolm Melvin 69).
Unused subs: Kyle Morrison, Daniel Platt. Cautions: Denny.
Goals: Marine; Sherlock (6, pen 83), Mitchley (40), Monaghan (43)
Referee: Mr Thomas Kirk
Assistants: Mr Mark Little and Mr Steven Lennon