Marine 1-2 Farsley Celtic
Mariners fall to Farsley at MTA...
A goal on debut from George Lomax wasn't quite enough for ten-man Marine to avoid a fifth home league defeat of the season as visitors Farsley Celtic secured all three points at the Marine Travel Arena. With striking options limited Lomax was given a starting berth in Tommy Lawson's side in place of James Edgar, whilst Michael Brewster replaced Vinny Bailey in the other change to the team defeated at Whitby on Saturday.
As in previous home games this season, the Crosby side began brightly and looked the more dangerous of the two teams in the opening half-an-hour. Scott Bakkor saw an early shot blocked by a tangerine-tailored defender, whilst George Lomax showed no little confidence as he created a shooting opportunity before firing high and wide of goal from just outside the 'd'.
A poor challenge from Celtic centre-back Atkinson which went unpunished by referee Duckworth then gave Kenny Strickland the opportunity from a free-kick 25 yards out, the midfielder's curling effort narrowly clearing the College Road crossbar and skimming off the roof of the rigging.
Farsley, who themselves had struggled for form of late, came to life as midfielder Atkinson advanced to hit a low shot through bodies from 25 yards, Ben Barnes diving to his left to parry and home skipper Adam Hughes completed the clearance.
The Pudsey-based side showed little charity as they made the breakthrough on the half-hour mark. Visiting left-back Baldwin surged down the Marine right and into the box before drilling a fine finish past Barnes and into the bottom corner.
As in recent games, the goal appeared to rock those in White and Celtic almost immediately extended their lead as they twice came close. Seasoned goalscorer Walshaw saw his shot deflected wide having escaped Michael Grogan's attentions, before the striker rose to beat Barnes to a cross from the left, his header sailing narrowly over the crossbar.
Manager Lawson made a double-change at the break as he sought to improve his side's performance, Bailey and Edgar replacing Strickland and Bakkor.
However six minutes into the second half matters went from bad to worse for the Mariners. A spell of Marine pressure ended with a long-ball clear from the Farsley backline, Walshaw finding himself goal-side of Grogan and Hughes as he advanced into the area before tumbling 12 yards out as Grogan challenged. Referee Duckworth had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and the inevitable red card for Grogan soon followed. Walshaw picked himself up to fire the spot-kick into the roof of the net and leave the Mariners with the proverbial mountain to climb.
Seb Bradshaw was introduced to make his Marine debut, replacing Brewster, but following the goal and sending-off it appeared to be a question of when, not if, Farsley would add to their tally.
The visitors however conspired to press the self-destruct somewhat through poor ball retention and allowed the numerically disadvantaged but spirited Mariners an unlikely way back into the game.
With 20 minutes remaining the Mariners appeared to be denied a certain penalty of their own, James Murray bursting into the area before having his leg taken by a satsuma-shirted defender. Unfortunately for the home side the arbiter, caught somewhat behind play, rather bizarrely awarded a corner-kick when a penalty or goal-kick appeared the only two possible outcomes, given that the defender certainly appeared to play man rather than ball.
Celtic sought to kill the game following this reprieve and Watson broke forward but saw his low drive parried by Barnes, Hughes making a timely intervention to block the follow-up effort.
Hughes then showed his attacking prowess as the Mariners halved their deficit on 78 minutes. The Marine captain's perfectly-weighted ball in behind the Farsley rearguard allowed Lomax to break into the box and the ex-Widnes striker dispatched a clinical left-footed finish past McKibbin to give the MTA faithful hope.
Walshaw remained the visitors' chief threat and his shot from a narrow angle forced Barnes into a smart stop, before the Mariners had the ball in the net from James Short's inswinging corner with three minutes remaining, referee Duckworth disallowing the potential equaliser for an apparent foul on McKibbin.
The last action of note saw Celtic counter and Watson's deflected shot was saved by the feet of Barnes, the rebound falling to Farsley substitute Walker whose attempted finish was fast and furious, but which cleared the both the crossbar and indeed the Main Stand from ten yards out with the goal at his mercy.
The visitors saw out time to extend Marine's winless run to nine games and leave the Crosby club in 20th place in the EvoStik Premier Division table.
The Mariners entertain Grantham Town on Saturday in their next league fixture, kick off at the Marine Travel Arena is 3pm.
Marine: Ben Barnes, Adam Freeland, James Short, Adam Hughes (c), Michael Grogan, Billy Smart, Kenny Strickland (Vinny Bailey 46), Michael Brewster (Seb Bradshaw 66), Scott Bakkor (James Edgar 46), George Lomax, James Murray.
Unused subs: Peter Wylie, Germano Mendes. Cautions: Short.
Farsley Celtic: Graeme McKibbin, Kurt Harris, Isaac Baldwin, Chris Atkinson, Danny Ellis (c), Jimmy Pollard, Adam Priestley (Paul Walker 76), Ben Atkinson, James Walshaw, Ryan Watson, Luke Parkin (Adam Porritt 90).
Unused subs: Richard Marshall, Kyle Trennery. Cautions: Watson, Atkinson.
Goals: Marine; Lomax (78)
Farsley Celtic; Baldwin (30), Walshaw (pen 51).
Referee: Mr Ed Duckworth
Assistants: Mr Mark Hughes and Mr Shaun Taylor