Marine 1-0 Halesowen Town
Mariners secure vital victory over Yeltz at MTA...
Liam Tongue's 10th minute goal proved the difference between the teams, although the Mariners required Martin Fearon's penalty save in added time to secure all three points in Crosby. Manager Tommy Lawson kept faith with the team which progressed to the Liverpool Senior Cup Final at Widnes' expense in midweek, whilst recent signing Michael Monaghan was named among the substitutes.
Marine began brightly and a 6th minute Kenny Strickland corner beyond the back post was met by Billy Smart who was unable to steer his header back towards goal as the ball dropped wide.
However the Whites took the lead four minutes later from another quadrant-kick after good work by Danny Mitchley and James Short, the latter's attempted cross being blocked behind. This time Strickland's inswinging delivery was inch-perfect for Liam Tongue to capitalise on flat-footed custodian Platt's hesitancy and power a header home from inside the six-yard box.
Midway through the half Florian Da Silva' well-struck 25-yarder following a corner sailed over the College Road crossbar as the Mariners continued to enjoy the upper hand.
Da Silva came even closer as Smart's challenge in the Halesowen area resulted in the ball breaking to the French flyer, his fierce drive being parried behind at the near post by the turqoise-tailored Platt.
Four minutes before the break and a foul on Mitchley on the edge of the 'd' gave Tom Field an opportunity from a free-kick, the midfielder's curling effort beating both the wall and the statuesque Platt but grazing the wrong side of the bar from the home faithful's perspective.
Though the Mariners had been dominant in the opening period they had been unable to add to their slender lead and the second period proved a more evenly-balanced contest as Halesowen began to play with more attacking purpose.
In truth the Whites should have doubled their advantage just two minutes after the break as a floated Strickland free-kick was headed into the danger area by Adam Hughes, the ball kindly to Smart who took a touch but was unable to force the ball home from close-range, Platt making the block for a corner which came to nought.
Yeltz midfielder Arnold curled a shot from 25 yards wide of goal, although it was happy days for Fearon who appeared to have the attempt covered in any event.
Midway through the half Mitchley recycled possession from a deep cross and found Short whose curling right-footed shot from 22 yards flew a couple of yards over the bar.
The visitors committed extra men in attack with 20 minutes remaining and introduced ex-Nottingham Forest striker Weir-Daley, and he perhaps should have done better from a Monteiro cross but his downward header at the back post was easily fielded by Fearon on the first bounce.
Halesowen's veteran centre-back Charlton then spurned another presentable opportunity for the Blues, as a ball played deep into the Marine box was headed away as far Charlton who volleyed high against the roof of the Main Stand from 15 yards.
With ten minutes remaining a flat clearance from Platt gave Dominic Reid the chance to advance into the Halesowen area, but the striker could only drag his shot a yard or two wide of the far post
As the game entered added time and with the Mariners on the verge of a much-needed win, the recent theme of late drama at the MTA was in evidence once more.
The visitors forced a corner on their left, but as it was about to be taken referee Aspinall, who had endured the most “mixed” of “mixed” afternoons, mysteriously awarded Halesowen a penalty for holding by a Marine defender. Then as the spot-kick was about to be taken an incident on the edge of the box was spotted by the arbiter who dismissed Yeltz forward Monteiro for appearing to strike a Marine defender as they jostled for position.
Once the dust had settled Goddard stepped up for the visitors to break Marine hearts, but Fearon had other ideas, diving low to his right to parry the spot-kick and react alertly to gather the rebound at the feet of the onrushing Town players.
With the penultimate kick of the game the Mariners should have finally grabbed their second of the afternoon, Mitchley bursting into the box but blazing high into Crosender Road with just Platt to beat.
However the referee's whistle sounded moments later to signal Marine's first league victory in nine attempts, as they took a huge step towards EvoStik Premier Division safety.
The Mariners travel to Workington on Tuesday evening in the Integro League Cup, kick-off at Borough Park is 7:45pm.
Marine: Martin Fearon, Peter Wylie, James Short, Adam Hughes, Kenny Strickland, Billy Smart, Florian Da Silva, Tom Field, Danny Mitchley (c), Dominic Reid (Niall Watson 90), Liam Tongue (Michael Brewster 76).
Unused subs: Tony Donaldson, Charlie Duke, Michael Monaghan. Cautions: Reid, Tongue, Short.
Halesowen Town: Daniel Platt, Enoch Luc Ekongo, Jack Kelly, Jordan Goddard, Kyle Morrison (c), Asa Charlton, Myles Arnold, Ivor Lawton (Yasin Al-Massry 86), Lee Knight, Kevin Da Veiga Monteiro, William Longbottom (Spencer Weir-Daley 54).
Unused subs: Samuel Dallow, Thomas Parsons. Cautions: Lawton, Morrison. Sent Off: Da Veiga Monteiro.
Goals: Marine; Tongue (10)
Referee: Mr Richard Aspinall
Assistants: Mr Robert Denton and Mr Emmanuel Edet