Marine 1-0 FC United of Manchester
Magnificent Mariners Master Reds at MTA...
Marine earned their place in the 1st Round Proper of the Buildbase FA Trophy as Danny Mitchley's 19th minute penalty separated the sides in Crosby. Manager Tommy Lawson retained the same starting eleven which drew last weekend at Halesowen and which had overcome Atherton Collieries in the previous round of the Trophy, as the Crosby club sought a first-ever home win against the Moston-based outfit.
The Mariners enjoyed the advantage of a strong breeze in the first half as they attacked the College Road end in front of a season-high attendance at the MTA. However it was the struggling National North outfit who fired the first shot across the bows as midfielder Walker tried his luck from 25 yards but his left-footed effort sailed comfortably high and wide of goal.
In the home side's first attack of note skipper Danny Mitchley beat his marker to reach the byline before pulling the ball back into the path of Vinny Bailey, but Bailey's sidefooted finish from 10 yards was blocked by a well-timed challenge from a red-shirted defender.
However the Mariners continued to enjoy the better of the early exchanges and duly broke the deadlock as Mitchley's chipped ball over the United defence saw Florian Da Silva race into the box, the French flyer being upended by visiting custodian Allinson to leave referee Watson the elementary task of awarding the spot-kick. Mitchley stepped up to fire into the top corner from 12 yards via the underside of the bar in front of the home hordes, giving Allinson little chance in the process.
The Whites continued to press and midway through the half Mitchley and James Murray were denied by strong challenges in their attempts to centre, Peter Wylie on hand to shrug off a defender on the corner of the area and his deflected shot was well-held by Allinson at the near-post.
The visitors began to settle into the tie and enjoyed an increased share of possession. The lively Walker drifted in from the right and fired a low shot from 22 yards which Kenny Strickland deflected in his efforts to block, the touch wrong-footing Martin Fearon but the ex-Skelmersdale 'keeper managed to produce a fine stop low to his left to protect the Mariners' lead.
At the other end Murray burst into the United box and his shot through a crowded area forced an equally smart save from Allinson who parried, the Reds' rearguard being able to clear to safety.
The Crosby club were controversially denied a second of the afternoon four minutes before the break as they continued to hold the upper hand, forcing a corner on their right. The quadrant-kick was delivered to the far post where Billy Smart rose to send a looping header back into the far corner, Allinson horribly misjudging the ball's flight as it dropped over him and just inside his left-hand upright. However referee Watson rather bizarrely disallowed the goal, presumably for a foul on Allinson, although to many onlookers it appeared as though any touch from an onrushing Marine attacker on the beleaguered 'keeper occurred after the ball had already crossed the goal-line.
Bailey fired a speculative effort a couple of yards over for the Mariners as the game reached half-time, with the Whites ahead but not enjoying the cushion they would have liked or perhaps deserved.
As expected with conditions in their favour United began the second half on the offensive and a corner from their left eventually dropped to Hughes who awkwardly sliced his shot over the bar from 15 yards.
Former Mariner Lindfield's predictably anonymous performance was punctuated by a goalbound volley on 52 minutes following another Reds' corner, Fearon reacting superbly to parry acrobatically from just underneath the crossbar and the Whites were relieved to clear.
The game progressed with the visitors enjoying their fair share of possession whilst lacking a cutting edge as the Marine rearguard remained disciplined and resolute.
On 71 minutes Mitchley, who along with Murray and Da Silva had been on the receiving end of some “robust” challenges from the United defence, was felled from behind in the area and the arbiter pointed to the spot once more to allow Mitchley the opportunity to extend his side's advantage. However Allinson this time guessed correctly and dived away to his right to push away Mitchley's spot-kick and give the National North side hope.
The visitors pressed in search of an equaliser and arguably should have restored parity 12 minutes from time. A spell of possession in the Mariners' half ended with a teasing ball into the box reaching player-manager Greaves, the veteran striker somehow heading over from close range to the delight of the vociferous home support.
In the closing stages United enjoyed plenty of the ball but were unable to unlock a well-marshalled and focussed Marine defence, the visitors' desperation being exemplified by Walker resorting to yet another shot from distance which flew high into the Main Stand.
Time elapsed to bring the Mariners a thoroughly deserved, hard-fought, and valuable victory on the day, as they secured their place in Monday's draw for the First Round Proper of the premier non-league cup competition.
Marine: Martin Fearon, Vinny Bailey, James Murray (Liam Tongue 66), James Short, Florian Da Silva, Peter Wylie, Billy Smart, Kenny Strickland, Danny Mitchley (c), Adam Hughes, Michael Brewster.
Unused subs: Phil Baker, George Lomax, George Hassall, Michael Grogan. Cautions: Smart, Bailey, Brewster.
FC United of Manchester: Lloyd Allinson, Joel Senior, Zac Corbett, Scott Kay (c), Sam Baird, Matthew Hughes, Thomas Walker, Michael Jones (Tyrell Palmer 46), Tom Greaves, Connor McCarthy (Kieran Glynn 70), Craig Lindfield.
Unused subs: Jordan Fagbola, Daniel Wisdom, Steven Affleck. Cautions: Lindfield, Kay.
Goals: Marine; Mitchley (pen 19)
Referee: Mr Dean Watson
Assistants: Mr Ian Walsh and Mr Nigel Anderson