Marine 0-2 Warrington Town
Mariners suffer the Blues at MTA...
By Ralph Rands
Marine produced a rather lacklustre display as they were comfortably beaten by Warrington Town in front of the highest league attendance at the MTA this season. Without the injured trio of Danny Mitchley, Finlay Sinclair-Smith and Kenny Strickland, and the suspended Chris Doyle, manager Neil Young brought Liam Hynes and James Murray back into his starting eleven.
However it was the visitors who began the game like a hurricane, as Paddy Wharton made a strong parry to keep out Wire winger Kirby's drive from the angle. The Blues maintained their early momentum and from the resulting corner Kirby's volley from the edge of the box was headed clear by Hynes as the Mariners sought to quell the early onslaught.
The Mariners created their clearest scoring opportunity of the game on 8 minutes as a strong run from recent recruit Charley Edge ended with a shot which was blocked by Town defender Raven. The former Hednesford wide-man retrieved possession on the left and centred for Murray to glance a header narrowly wide from 12 yards.
Ex-Mariner Hughes headed wide from a Warrington corner before Craig Carney tried his luck from 22 yards but screwed his left-footed effort comfortably wide of target.
The promotion-chasing visitors began to assert and midway through the opening period ex-Marine loanee Dixon's jinking run into the area forced a last-ditch block in the Whites' defence.
Moments later Dixon's cross whipped in from the right found the head of Gray, the Blues' striker flashing a header a yard wide of Wharton's left-hand upright.
However the visitors made the breakthrough on 33 minutes as Dixon surged forward from midfield, stepping inside a challenge before arrowing a low strike past the sprawling Wharton and into the bottom corner from 22 yards.
Warrington sought to extend their lead on the stroke of half-time as a daisy-cutter from the lively Kirby ended a yard or two wide of goal, although Wharton appeared to have the strike covered.
The second-half proved a rather tepid affair with few chances of note created by either team. Six minutes after the restart Edge's effort from 25 yards flew wide of target, and that strike was the solitary threat the Mariners mustered throughout the second period. Indeed the Whites failed to produce a single shot on target throughout the afternoon to test visiting custodian Albinson, who will not enjoy a more comfortable game all season long.
Auxiliary centre-back James Short was forced off through injury midway through the half, being replaced by debutant Dapo Kayode, whilst another debutant Michael Elstone replaced Chris Sang in attack.
However it was the visitors who left the outcome in no doubt on 69 minutes as they doubled their lead with a fine team goal. A ball sprayed out to the left flank from midfield found the marauding Hughes who advanced to the byline before his chipped cross gave veteran striker Gray the easiest of tasks to nod home from all of two yards out.
Indeed the Mariners were grateful to Wharton for limiting the damage in the final quarter of the game, the on-loan youngster parrying smartly from Raven's fierce drive from 12 yards, before an uncharacteristic slip from Danny Shaw allowed Town substitute Dunn a sniff but Wharton was alert to bravely smother at the Warrington man's feet.
In truth the visitors won the game with relative ease against a worryingly toothless Marine team who are now without a league win in eight games and in danger of becoming entrenched in the bottom three.
The Mariners enjoy brief respite from their league woes on Tuesday evening as they travel to face Stafford Rangers in the Integro League Cup, kick-off at 7:45pm, before returning to EvoStik Premier action next Saturday with the long trip to the ever-warm and cosy Meres to face Grantham Town.
Marine: Paddy Wharton, Sam Tattum, James Short (Dapo Kayode 66), Danny Shaw, Liam Hynes, James Short, James Murray, Steve Irwin (c) (Ged Kinsella 79), Chris Sang (Michael Elstone 69), Craig Carney, Charley Edge.
Unused subs: John Marsden, Germano Mendes. Cautions: Irwin, Shaw.
Warrington Town: Charles Albinson, Mitch Duggan, Adam Hughes, Ben Garrity, Mark Roberts (c), David Raven, Jack Mackreth (Dominic Reid 83), Robbie Evans, Tony Gray (Josh Amis 70), Bohan Dixon (Jack Dunn 89), Jake Kirby.
Unused subs: Dylan Vassallo, Alex Whittle. Cautions: Dixon, Raven.
Goals: Warrington Town; Dixon (33), Gray (69).
Referee: Mr Paul Roots
Assistants: Mr Matthew Edwards and Mr Ian Claridge