Three points for Marine on the road v Stalybridge
Marine blast two past Stalybridge in dominating performance
The Mariners grabbed all three points on the road at Stalybridge last night (Tuesday 22 August) thanks to goals from Vinny Bailey and Kenny Strickland and an all-round team performance.
After succumbing to a disappointing home defeat to Barwell on Saturday, Marine impressed across the park at Bower Fold.
Ben Barnes came in-between the sticks to record his second ever senior appearance for Marine, 13 years after making his debut. New signing Scott Bakkor was also making his debut on the right wing.
After a scrappy opening five minutes, Marine turned up the pressure with Danny Mitchley and Bailey linking up well in attack, ably assisted throughout by the tireless running of James Murray on the left.
Murray had the best of the chances after 15 minutes. As the ball was whipped into the box Mitchley went down in the area – with the referee waving play on, Murray came steaming in but his shot was blasted agonisingly wide.
Then just before the half hour mark Mitchley had a good effort ruled out for a foul.
Marine continued to push forward with Murray and James Short patrolling the left side of the field as Michael Brewster and Billy Smart commanded the middle of the park.
Barnes was called into action after 35 minutes with the first meaningful Stalybridge chance, with a close range effort being saved point blank.
With so much pressure in the first half it was surprising that the teams went into the changing rooms at half time with the score line stuck at 0-0.
As the second half got underway Brewster ran clear on the right wing and his cross was smashed home by Bailey to deservedly put Marine 1-0 up after 48 minutes.
Marine continued to press forward looking for a second goal with Bailey hitting the post then planting his header on the roof of the net.
Shortly after Stalybridge had their best chance of the game when they hit the crossbar with a headed effort after 67 minutes. The Marine defence assuredly soaked up any Stalybridge pressure throughout the game and rarely looked like conceding the lead.
Strickland then came on for Bakkor for the last 20 minutes and both sides traded punches.
But the perseverance paid off for Marine and they went 2-0 up courtesy of substitute Strickland. Mitchley powered down the field chasing a brilliant through ball from Bailey and he selflessly crossed for Strickland to slot the ball home and guarantee all three points for the Mariners.
There were raucous cheers from the away support as the final whistle blew and Marine bagged an extremely valuable win against one of the leagues’ big hitters.
Marine: Ben Barnes, Peter Wylie, James Short, Adam Hughes, Michael Grogan, Billy Smart, Scott Bakkor (Kenny Strickland 71), Michael Brewster, Danny Mitchley (c), Vinny Bailey, James Murray
Subs not used: John Shaw, Kisimba Kisimba, Matthew Hamilton, Germano Mendes
Referee: Richard Holmes
By Dave Mackin