Marine 3-1 Hednesford Town
Mariners overcome Pitmen at Marine Travel Arena...
Marine recorded their first home league win of the season as they claimed a deserved victory over Hednesford Town at the Marine Travel Arena. Manager Neil Young made one change to the starting eleven which earned a point at Workington in midweek as recent signing Steven Irwin replaced Ged Kinsella in midfield.
A delayed kick-off due to the Staffordshire club's late arrival in Crosby didn't deter the Whites who began brightly, skipper Danny Mitchley volleying over from 22 yards following Dominic Reid's cushioned lay-off.
Mitchley came closer to opening the scoring in the 3rd minute as a ball forward reached him inside the box, the striker's snapshot flying wide of target.
The Mariners took a deserved lead in the 15th minute as Irwin's cross from the right allowed Mitchley to fire a shot which was blocked by a red-shirted defender, the ball ricocheting to Craig Carney who sent a sweetly-struck volley into the Crosender Road rigging from the edge of the box.
The visitors gradually grew into the game and found the net through skipper Galinski's looping header from a corner, however the goal was correctly disallowed by referee Gittins for a shove on a Marine defender as the ball was played in to the box.
Irwin saw his low shot from the edge of the box comfortably held by cobalt-clad custodian Bursik, before Liam Hynes drilled a shot from 25 yards which flew a couple of yards wide of Bursik's right-hand post.
Town striker Davies' ambitious effort from distance rolled well-wide of goal, and at the other end Mitchley attempted to connect with a ball clipped into the Hednesford box, a Town defender's attempted clearance cannoning off Mitchley and forcing Bursik into a smart save low to his right.
Visiting midfielder King flicked a headed effort from a short corner which dropped a couple of yards over Martin Fearon's crossbar, but the same player made no mistake nine minutes before the break as he glanced home at the near-post from another quadrant-kick despite Fearon's best efforts.
Ex-Southport striker Cockerline's neat touch allowed Town substitute Howard to fire wide from 22 yards, before Cockerline's excellent hold-up play set-up right-back Curley who fired a rising drive over the bar from 22 yards as half-time arrived with the sides level.
The Mariners began the second half on the front foot and Reid's daisy-cutter from 20 yards was safely held by Bursik, before Kenny Strickland curled a free-kick past the Town wall but again Bursik was able to gather comfortably.
However the Whites managed to regain the lead in the 57th minute as a ball played in from the right fell to Chris Doyle on the edge of the area, the centre-back controlling expertly with his chest before volleying low past Bursik's despairing dive in front of the delighted home support.
Good work in the final third by Irwin and Finlay Sinclair-Smith saw the young winger regain possession and square for Carney to curl a first-time effort from 20 yards which flew inches wide of Bursik's left-hand upright with the 'keeper rooted to the spot.
The Pitmen almost forced an equaliser just after the hour mark as Archer arrowed a low shot which Fearon parried smartly, the visitors recycling possession and a cross from their left reached Cockerline eight yards out but the big striker couldn't keep his header down as the ball sailed a couple of yards over the crossbar.
Hednesford continued to press and Davies' shot from the angle forced Fearon into another good initial stop, Fearon managing to gather at the second attempt to deny the lurking Cockerline a tap-in.
Cockerline's strong run ten minutes from time carried him to the edge of the Marine area, but the striker sent his finish over the bar when well-placed to hit the target.
As the game became stretched in the final five minutes, referee Gittins waved away vehement appeals for a penalty in another Hednesford attack, whilst at the other end Mitchley's left-footed strike narrowly cleared the angle of post and crossbar.
The Mariners managed to seal a much-needed victory in the 87th minute as Mitchley did well to hold off a Town defender before hooking the ball across goal from the by-line, substitute James Murray arriving to take a touch and fire a shot which the well-placed Assistant deemed to have crossed the goalline despite the best efforts of a Hednesford defender.
Mitchley was denied a deserved goal by Bursik who made a fine save low to his left, before a half-clearance in the Marine defence dropped to Cockerline whose snap-shot proved tame and Fearon held with relative ease.
The Whites almost added a fourth of thee afternoon on the break as Murray fed fellow substitute Josh Hine who brought a strong parry from Bursik, before a Town corner from the right fell to centre-back Fitzpatrick who volleyed high over the bar from 22 yards in the last meaningful action of the game.
Marine play at home again on Tuesday evening in another EvoStik Premier Division fixture, as they entertain Hednesford's neighbours Stafford Rangers at the MTA in a 7:45pm kick-off.
Marine: Martin Fearon, Kenny Strickland, James Short, Danny Shaw, Chris Doyle, Liam Hynes, Finlay Sinclair-Smith (Josh Hine 74), Steven Irwin (James Joyce 71), Danny Mitchley (c), Dominic Reid (James Murray 80), Craig Carney.
Unused subs: Tony Donaldson, Germano Mendes. Cautions: none.
Hednesford Town: Josef Bursik, Matt Curley, Nathan Fox (Charley Edge 69), Joe Fitzpatrick, Stef Galinski (c), Callam Mendez-Jones, Matt Dodd (Mike Howard 36), Reece King, Dan Cockerline, Jed Davies, Lewis Archer (Sam Grimshaw 65).
Unused subs: Jose Veiga, Jermain Hollis. Cautions: Davies, Galinski, Fox.
Goals: Marine; Carney (15), Doyle (57), Murray (87).
Hednesford Town; King (36)
Referee: Mr Ian Gittins
Assistants: Mr Robert Denton and Mr Emmanuel Edet