Marine 1-3 Mickleover Sports
Mariners out of sorts against ten-men Sports at MTA...
Marine's miserable home league form showed no signs of improvement as Tommy Lawson's side were well beaten by a robust Mickleover outfit in Crosby. The Mariners were without injured skipper Danny Mitchley and so Michael Monaghan made his first league start since returning to the club, whilst Phil Baker was reinstated at centre-half in place of Peter Wylie.
In what was to prove an abject first half with neither side able to introduce any real cohesion to their play, it was the Derbyshire outfit who came closest to taking an early lead in bizarre circumstances. Sports strikers Briscoe and Barnes-Homer combined for the latter to fire in a shot which was blocked by James Short, Martin Fearon's subsequent attempted clearance striking Short's backside and rolling narrowly wide of Fearon's left-hand post as the Mariners escaped.
At the other end Liam Tongue and Dominic Reid both sent efforts from outside the Mickleover area well wide of target, before the visitors took control with two goals in the space of six minutes.
The impressive Dales grabbed the opener on 27 minutes, receiving a pass on the left-hand side of the box before turning inside and drilling a low shot from 15 yards which beat Fearon with the aid of a slight deflection.
Dales then turned provider as he beat Kenny Strickland to the byline and squared to provide Garnett with the easiest of finishes from close range.
The half petered out with the Mitchley-less Mariners looking decidedly lightweight against a physical Mickleover side who played the ugly side of the game to perfection, the Whites failing to test salmon-shirted custodian King in a lacklustre first half display.
The Mariners were afforded a glimpse of hope early in the second half as Sports player-manager McGrath was shown two yellow cards in as many minutes and dismissed by referee Smith.
Tom Field's well-struck half-volley flew high and wide of the College Road net, before Field's well-weighted chip over the top of the Sports rearguard allowed Monaghan to reach the ball just ahead of the onrushing King, the ex-Trafford midfielder being felled by the 'keeper to hand the Mariners a gilt-edged chance to halve their deficit from the spot. However, whilst Strickland's penalty was well-struck it was also driven fairly centrally and King used a strong wrist to parry to safety.
King's shirt became ripped a few minutes later following a confrontation with Monaghan for which both players were cautioned, and amid farcical scenes referee Smith deemed a training bib acceptable attire to distinguish King from his teammates, the Derbyshire outfit unable to provide a replacement 'keeper's shirt despite the game being delayed for several minutes.
The Mariners continued to be frustrated in their efforts to create a noteworthy scoring opportunity and it came as no surprise when they were hit on the break by the ten-men in the 75th minute. Dales once again proved tormentor-in-chief, flicking the ball over Baker just inside Marine territory before racing clear to coolly finish past Fearon from 15 yards.
After Field's free-kick had been parried by King diving away to his left, Marine's own John McGrath then provided small consolation for his team on an afternoon of little cheer for the Crosby club. The substitute beat King from the corner of the area with a curling left-footed shot which found the rigging via the underside of the bar, for a replica of his sumptuous strike against Shaw Lane last month.
Monaghan's header from a Peter Wylie cross was palmed over his own crossbar by King as the game entered a full nine minutes of added time, but the visitors could and perhaps should have added a fourth as Dales teed-up Barnes-Homer who blazed over from ten yards out.
Tongue curled a low effort which was easily held by the well-positioned King as time elapsed, but the Whites were well-beaten on the day as they slipped to another disappointing home defeat.
The Mariners will be hoping to fare better next Saturday as they entertain Lancaster City at the MTA, kick-off is at 3pm.
Marine: Martin Fearon, Kenny Strickland (c), James Short, Adam Hughes (Peter Wylie 65), Phil Baker, Tom Field, Florian Da Silva (John McGrath 65), Billy Smart, Danny Mitchley (c), Dominic Reid, Liam Tongue.
Unused subs: Michael Brewster, Niall Watson, Tony Donaldson. Cautions: Monaghan.
Mickleover Sports: Lewis King, Kevin Grocott, Alex Morris, John McGrath, Pablo Mills, Morgan Williams, Andy Dales, Evan Garnett (Jimmy Phillips 55), Matthew Barnes-Homer, Louis Briscoe (Lewis Belgrave 90), Ollie Mulders.
Unused subs: Reece Horne, Clinton Morrison. Cautions: King, McGrath. Sent Off: McGrath.
Goals: Marine; McGrath (80)
Mickleover Sports; Dales (27, 75), Garnett (33)
Referee: Mr Lewis Smith
Assistants: Mr Matthew McQuillian and Mr Johnathan Chadwick