Marine 1-3 Ashton United
Mariners exit FA Cup at first hurdle as Robins fly high at MTA...
Marine bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup at the first hurdle as visitors Ashton United progressed from this 1st Qualifying Round tie. Manager Tommy Lawson made one change to the side defeated by Warrington Town with James Edgar replacing Danny Mitchley who hobbled out of Monday's game, although the club captain was deemed fit enough to be named among the substitutes.
The Mariners began the game brightly and skipper Adam Hughes volleyed goalward from 25 yards but visiting custodian Frith was across to catch comfortably.
With 15 minutes played the Whites missed the first of several good chances as James Short's deep cross from the left flank was headed back into the danger area by Scott Bakkor, however Billy Smart was unable to provide the required finish as he headed a yard wide of goal from 8 yards out.
The Crosby side continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession as the Robins were content to sit deep and look to utilise seasoned campaigner Chadwick as their attacking outlet. Chadwick's delivery from a free-kick troubled the home rearguard, but Ben Barnes did well to stretch and tip the ball away from an onrushing purple-shirted attacker, the subsequent corner being cleared to safety.
Hughes, Short, and Michael Grogan all sent ambitious efforts from distance high over the Crosender Road crossbar before the visitors pounced to take the lead in the 26th minute. A ball in from the Robins' right was met by Tomsett whose header beat Barnes but not the bar, the rebound being prodded goalward by Platt who was denied by a fine reflex save from Barnes, however Ashton forward Dyche reacted quickest to finish from six yards.
James Murray sought to restore parity as he received Peter Wylie's pass, the diminutive winger checking back onto his right-foot and curling a shot from just outside the area that had Frith scrambling, but the ball flew inches wide of the 'keeper's left-hand upright.
Murray then had two even better opportunities to level matters before the break, as firstly Michael Brewster's clever pass allowed Murray the chance to dink the ball over the onrushing Frith, but the ball dropped agonisingly the wrong side of the far post from the perspective of the home faithful.
Five minutes before the interval Bakkor's pinpoint cross from the left reached an unmarked Murray, but like Smart before him the midfielder flashed his header wide of target as the Mariners trailed at half-time.
The Mariners emerged early for the second period with the manager's half-time words no doubt ringing in their ears, but it was Ashton who were to score twice in four minutes to take full control of the tie.
Firstly some ineffective defending cost the Mariners dear as a visiting attacker was able to wriggle past a couple of challenges before squaring for Tomsett to provide the vital touch past Barnes from close range.
On 57 minutes the game was up as a quick free-kick caught the Marine defence napping, Tomsett bursting into the box but being felled by Barnes, referee Croft awarding the penalty and Chadwick firing home from 12 yards with aplomb to leave the Mariners all at sea.
Danny Mitchley entered the fray with his side facing the proverbial mountain to climb, and his introduction almost reaped immediate reward as Vinny Bailey's chipped pass allowed Mitchley to swivel and strike a left-footed shot which was blocked behind by a strong block from the aptly-named Granite.
Bakkor volleyed wide following a half-clearance to the edge of the Ashton box, whilst at the other end the lively Tomsett burst into the Marine area once more, Barnes denying the striker with a fine parry to prevent further punishment.
With 20 minutes remaining Mitchley again sought to provide the Whites with a ray of hope but saw his piledriver from 22 yards expertly palmed over by the flying Frith, and from the resulting corner Hughes header bounced goalward but was smuggled clear of the goalline by Platt.
The Mariners then enjoyed a brief spell of pressure on the visitors' goal following a poor Frith clearance, Short beating his man on the left and squaring for substitute Kenny Strickland who could only sidefoot his first-time shot over the bar from ten yards out.
The afternoon went from bad to worse for Marine in the final ten minutes as referee Croft curtailed a promising Marine attack due to a second ball mysteriously entering the field of play. The arbiter decided on a drop-ball to restart play, but as the Ashton defence took an age to play the ball back into the Marine half Mitchley challenged robustly and earned a caution for his troubles.
Just two minutes later a clearly frustrated Mitchley was cautioned a second time following the award of a free-kick to Ashton and dismissed.
United substitute Johnson then showed a turn of pace to advance on goal, but Barnes again produced a smart block to prevent his side from conceding four for the second successive game.
With virtually the last kick of the game the Mariners grabbed a consolation as a headed clearance was volleyed into Strickland's feet by Grogan, the midfielder controlling adroitly before coolly slotting home left-footed from ten yards.
Marine return to EvoStik Premier action on Tuesday evening as they travel to Wincham Park to face Witton Albion, kick-off is at 7:45pm.
Marine: Ben Barnes, Peter Wylie (Kisimba Kisimba 59), James Short, Adam Hughes (c), Michael Grogan, Billy Smart (Kenny Strickland 56), James Murray, Michael Brewster (Danny Mitchley 54), Scott Bakkor, Vinny Bailey, James Edgar.
Unused subs: John Shaw, George Hassall, Germano Mendes. Cautions: Mitchley, Kisimba. Sent Off: Mitchley
Ashton United: Ashley Frith, Lanre Olapade (Simon Woodford 75), John Pritchard, Josh Granite, Aaron Chalmers, John Roberts (Alex Johnson 46), Nicky Platt, Mark Lees (c), Matthew Chadwick (Oscar Durnin 58), Liam Tomsett, Jack Dyche.
Unused subs: Richard Smith, Jody Banim. Cautions: none.
Goals: Marine; Strickland (90)
Ashton United; Dyche (26), Tomsett (53), Chadwick (pen 57)
Referee: Mr David Croft
Assistants: Mr Graeme Kearney and Mr Ashley Hyne