Marine 2-0 Workington
Mariners bounce back with win over Reds at MTA...
Marine opened their home league campaign with victory over fancied Workington in an entertaining contest at the Marine Travel Arena. Manager Tommy Lawson made three changes to the side which suffered a heavy reverse at Grantham on the opening day as Adam Hughes, Billy Smart and captain Danny Mitchley earned starts in place of Kisimba Kisimba, John Shaw, and Kenny Strickland.
Workington enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and in just the second minute the Cumbrians almost took the lead, Allison's volley from the edge of the box rolling a yard wide of Germano Mendes' right-hand post.
After the Crosby side had lost George Hassall to injury after just ten minutes, to be replaced by Dean Shacklock, the Reds continued to hold the upper hand and on 16 minutes came even closer to breaking the deadlock. Mendes stretched but was unable to claim a cross from the visitors' left flank, allowing Reds striker Ryan to curl an effort from 15 yards which cleared the College Road crossbar to the relief of the home faithful.
The Whites grew into proceedings and James Edgar's low shot from the corner of the Workington area proved their first shot on target, visiting custodian and captain Taylor holding securely.
Midway through the half the Mariners worked the ball into Mitchley on the edge of the box but the skipper's first-time sidefooted effort failed to trouble Taylor as it flew comfortably wide of target.
Workington continued to look the more threatening of the two sides and on the half-hour mark a corner from the left resulted in a lobbed effort clearing Mendes but the well-positioned Peter Wylie was able to head clear from his own goal-line.
The Mariners responded well and their next attack produced a corner which Edgar delivered to the near post, James Murray's flick-on falling to Mitchley who was on the receiving end of a rash challenge as he was about to fire goalward. Referee Barlow correctly awarded the spot-kick but Mitchley's low shot from 12 yards was parried low to his right by Taylor and the visitors were relieved to clear.
Workington countered quickly and had claims for a penalty of their own waved away by the arbiter as Michael Grogan attempted to shepherd the ball out for a goal-kick.
The ebb and flow of the game continued apace with the Mariners next to enjoy a clear sight of goal, Wylie's excellent centre finding Smart unmarked 15 yards out but the returning midfielder was unable to direct his volley on target as the ball narrowly cleared the bar.
On the stroke of half-time Mendes had to be alert to push a fizzing low shot from 25 yards behind as the game somehow remained goalless at the break.
Whilst Workington had edged the first half the Mariners certainly enjoyed the better of the second, and the Crosby side created a great chance two minutes after the interval. In a rapid attack Murray split the Reds defence open with a perfectly-weighted pass which provided Edgar with the chance to beat Taylor, however the ex-Prescot winger blazed his left-footed finish over the crossbar.
Undeterred, Lawson's men continued to press and took the lead two minutes later. Neat approach play saw Shacklock receive possession on the corner of the Reds' box and he advanced before sending in a low cross which was met by the timely arrival of Smart, the midfielder sliding in to poke the ball past Taylor from six yards out.
The Cumbrian outfit should perhaps have equalised on 55 minutes as a defensive mix-up allowed Joel in on goal but the striker dragged his shot wide from 15 yards with only Mendes to beat.
The Mariners punished Joel's profligacy eight minutes later as another deep Edgar corner from the right was headed back across the box by Grogan, Shacklock being denied by a fine block from Taylor but Adam Hughes was on hand to finish from close range to double the Whites' advantage.
With confidence flowing through Lawson's side Marine sought a third goal and Smart won possession on the edge of the Reds' area following a half-clearance before finding Edgar who fired into the side-netting from a difficult angle.
Workington hadn't given up hope and a free-kick headed down to Simpson saw the right-back's first-time shot roll well wide of goal. The Mariners pressed forward once more and Murray combined well with Smart down the right, the latter's cross finding Mitchley who fired inches wide of Taylor's left-hand upright with the 'keeper well-beaten.
To their credit Workington finished the game strongly and Allison found space in the box to beat Mendes with a goalbound shot but James Short was perfectly placed to clear off the line and preserve his team's clean sheet.
With two minutes remaining Ryan's header from 12 yards dropped over the bar and onto the roof of the net but there were no further scares for the Mariners as they picked up their first three points of the season against a side who will no doubt be among the promotion candidates come the end of the season.
Marine's next fixture sees them entertain Leicestershire club Barwell on Saturday at the Marine Travel Arena, kick-off is at 3pm.
Marine: Germano Mendez, Peter Wylie, James Short, Adam Hughes, Michael Grogan, Billy Smart, James Murray, Vinny Bailey, Danny Mitchley (c) (Matthew Hamilton 86), George Hassall (Dean Shacklock 10), James Edgar.
Subs: Kenny Strickland, Kisimba Kisimba, John Shaw. Cautions: Bailey
Workington: Aaron Taylor (c), Jacob Simpson, Sam Smith, Daniel Wordsworth, Joshua Calvert, James Earl (Matthew Douglas 50), David Symington (Jamie Mellen 80), Robert Wilson, Jack Ryan, Samuel Joel, Scott Allison.
Subs: Benjamin Macdonald, Jordan Williams, Thomas Fowler. Cautions: Wordsworth, Allison
Goals: Marine; Smart (49), Hughes (63)
Referee: Mr Michael Barlow
Assistants: Mr Bilal Moosa and Mr Abid Hussain