Nantwich Town 3-2 Marine
Mariners slip to cruel defeat in Cheshire...
By Aaron Sutcliffe
Veteran striker Steve Jones scored a last-minute winner to deny Marine a well-deserved point against promotion chasing Nantwich Town as they went down 3-2 at Weaver Stadium in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
Substitute Jones snatched the game away from the Mariners who produced a superb second-half comeback, coming from two goals down, only to be denied in the final minute of the game.
The 42-year-old headed home from close range after fellow substitute Joe Malkin drilled the ball into his path from the left following a superb break up-field from centre-back Toby Mullarkey.
The goal came against the run of play however, with substitute James Murray firing the Mariners back into the contest on 66 minutes when Chris Sang beat keeper Will Jaaskelainen to the loose ball before squaring for Murray to finish.
Steven Irwin then completed the comeback just three minutes later when Charley Edge delivered a tantalising cross into the penalty area from the left-hand side where Irwin was on hand to head into the top right corner.
However, a slow start would ultimately cost Marine dear with Sean Cooke opening the scoring for Nantwich after just three minutes when his half-volley from almost 40 yards out looped over debutant Patrick Wharton in goal.
Former Marine player Joe Mwasile doubled the Dabbers lead just four minutes later when he was left unmarked six yards from goal to head home James Lawrie’s left-wing cross.
Manager Neil Young made three changes to the side beaten at Scarborough, as Wharton debuted in goal, having signed on loan from Tranmere Rovers this week, with Sang and Edge replacing Liam Hynes and the suspended Chris Doyle.
The visitors started brightly, with Craig Carney denied after just two minutes by Jaaskelainen after firing his effort straight at the keeper from ten yards out before Sang missed a similar chance on 11 minutes.
Danny Shaw produced a fine performance in defence, frustrating Nantwich top scorer Danny Glover and made an excellent block on 35 minutes to keep the visitors in the game.
Captain Danny Mitchley was then forced off with what appeared to be an ankle injury after landing awkwardly from an aerial challenge, with the injury allowing Murray to enter the fray on 56 minutes.
His introduction, along with John Marsden just after the hour mark, sparked a crazy three-minute period that saw Marine completely turn the game around.
The visitors searched for a winner and almost created an opening on 75 minutes when Murray and Marsden combined only for Jaaskelainen to make a sliding clearance to keep the scores level.
Sang then showed excellent tenacity to win a challenge in midfield before sending Murray through, who nipped in ahead of his man but could only fire his rushed effort well wide of the target with ten minutes remaining.
It was a dominant second-half display from Marine who merited at least a point for their efforts, only for Jones to snatch it away from them at the death.
Nantwich Town: JAASKELAINEN, MORGAN, BARNES, STAIR ©, MULLARKEY, BELL, MWASILE (SAUNDERS 87’), LAWRIE, GLOVER (MALKIN 67’), COOKE, COTTERELL (JONES 77’)
Unused Subs: HAWKINS, BOURNE
Marine: WHARTON, TATTUM, JOYCE, SHAW, SHORT, CARNEY, SINCLAIR-SMITH (MARSDEN 62’), IRWIN, MITCHLEY © (MURRAY 56’), SANG, EDGE
Unused Subs: KAYODE, MENDES
Goals: Cooke (3’), Mwasile (7’), Jones (90’) – Murray (66’), Irwin (69’)
Yellow Cards: Carney (38’), Tattum (76’), Murray (90’ + 2)
Red Cards: N/A