Marine 1-2 Matlock Town
Mariners vanquished by Gladiators at MTA...
Marine slumped to a sixth home league defeat of the season as Matlock Town took all three points at the Marine Travel Arena. The Mariners made two enforced changes to the side which beat Stalybridge Celtic in midweek, Liam Tongue and Dominic Marie making their first starts in place of Billy Smart and Danny Mitchley.
On a pleasant autumnal Crosby afternoon the opening exchanges proved fairly open, as the two teams who have struggled for form of late sought to gain the upper hand.
A deep cross from the Gladiators' left flank was hooked back across goal by the experienced Harrad for strike partner Waite to head wide as Phil Baker challenged.
Neat approach play at the other end then saw James Edgar's cross headed clear as far as Tongue 25 yards out, the ball sitting up invitingly but Tongue's dipping volley cleared the College Road crossbar by a couple of yards.
The deadlock was broken in the 16th minute as the Whites pressed once more. Matlock looked to clear from their left-back position but a strong blocking challenge from Peter Wylie forced the ball square across the box and George Lomax was on hand to sidefoot home from eight yards.
The anthracite-apparelled visitors almost levelled matters four minutes later as a bouncing ball in the Marine area fell to Waite, the striker's sweetly-struck volley crashed against the angle of post and crossbar and rebounded into play for the relieved home defence to clear.
Chances continued to be created at either end by the two well-matched teams, Edgar's inswinging corner from the right being met by Baker's powerful header which flew narrowly wide of goal.
Matlock then forced a corner of their own and the lively Waite rose highest but the ball skimmed of the top of his head and comfortably wide of Germano Mendes' right-hand post.
However the Mariners failed to heed the warning and shortly after the half-hour mark Waite escaped down the right, busting into the box before clinically despatching a finish from 15 yards past Mendes and into the far corner of the net.
The Crosby club sought to restore their advantage and Kenny Strickland's free-kick curled around the Matlock wall from 25 yards, visiting custodian Barnes pushing away the effort as far as Michael Brewster whose sidefooted finish cleared the bar from an acute angle.
In the last action of the half Matlock twice came close as firstly a quick throw-in on their right eluded Baker's attempted header, Harrad stealing in behind but Mendes produced a fine reflex save to parry Harrad's fierce volley behind. From the resulting corner Matlock midfielder Wiley beat Mendes to the punch but his header from close range narrowly cleared the bar as the sides remained level at the interval.
In contrast to the entertaining, open nature of the first half the second period proved a stop-start, rather tepid affair with play frequently being interrupted by referee Hitchell's whistle.
The Gladiators were first to threaten as Waite latched on to long ball forward, Mendes partially blocking Waite's shot before Strickland completed the clearance.
At the other end Lomax almost capitalised on Barnes' indecision but the ex-Widnes striker's header dropped narrowly the wrong side of the keeper's left-hand upright.
Waite then cut in from the left and tried his luck from 25 yards but his rising drive was never troubling Mendes as it cleared the bar, before the Marine 'keeper appeared to suffer a groin injury while completing a clearance. With no 'keeper available from the bench, the immobile Mendes was left to continue with centre-backs Baker and Strickland taking over goal-kicking duties.
Matlock, who had looked the more likely of the two teams in the second half, found their winning goal on 73 minutes. A ball clipped into the Marine box was squared by Town substitute Etches for visiting skipper Yates to sidefoot home from eight yards out as the static home rearguard appealed in vain for offside.
Popular winger Florian Da Silva made a welcome return in a white shirt as Tommy Lawson looked to improve his side's fortunes, and the Frenchman forced a corner on the right which reached Baker 15- yards out. The ex-TNS defender fire in a shot which struck a Matlock body on the goal-line and ricocheted against the post before the relieved Town defence were able to hack the ball clear.
However that was as close as the Whites came to salvaging a point, Harrad's speculative effort with the outside of his boot ending high and wide of target, whilst midfielder Williams should have done better as he side-footed a first-time finish over from 12 yards.
The MTA faithful's frustrations were compounded as the game entered added time as James Short received a straight red card for a rash, late challenge.
The Gladiators almost put Marine further to the sword time elapsed, Harrad being played into the box but again Mendes proved equal to the striker's volley he produced a smart stop to divert the ball over his own crossbar.
The defeat leaves Marine languishing in 20th place in the EvoStik Premier Division table, although the sides below them have games in hand which could see them leapfrog the Mariners.
The Whites seek some respite from their league woes on Tuesday evening as they entertain Brighouse Town in the Integro League Cup, kick-off at the Marine Travel Arena is at 7:45pm.
Marine: Germano Mendes, Peter Wylie, James Short, Kenny Strickland (c) Phil Baker, Liam Tongue, Vinny Bailey (Florian Da Silva 65), Michael Brewster, Dominic Marie, George Lomax, James Edgar (James Murray 64).
Unused subs: Chris Lomax, Adam Freeland, Seb Bradshaw. Cautions: Tongue. Sent Off: Short
Matlock Town: Phil Barnes, Nico Degirolamo, Jake Green, Kieron Wallace, Adam Yates (c), Dwayne Wiley, Rhys Sharpe (Joe Doyle-Charles 89), Michael Williams (Nathan Whitehead 90), Shaun Harrad, Tyrell Waite, Edward Cribley (Adam Etches 69).
Unused subs: Tyler Blake. Cautions: Wallace, Harrad, Sharpe.
Goals: Marine; G Lomax (16)
Matlock Town; Waite (31), Yates (73).
Referee: Mr Danny Hitchell
Assistants: Mr George Allison and Mr Adam Davies