Tom Wardle Reports as Britton’s first half strike gives Mariners hard-earned three points…

Louis Britton’s goal on the verge of half time was the difference as Marine beat Atherton Collieries 1-0 at The Skuna Stadium this afternoon. The Mariners defended resolutely in the second half to maintain their fifth clean sheet on the road this season. The victory keeps the Crosby-side just three points off the playoff spots with a game in hand over the teams above.

Neil Young made two changes from last weekend’s league defeat at Liversedge. Sean Smith and James Barrigan were replaced by Ben Hodkinson and 18-year old debutant, William Johnson.

Marine looked the more likely to find the back of the net in the first half.

A chance broke for Britton inside eight minutes when Jordan Lussey’s long throw-in unsettled the Colls’ defence. Though the forward didn’t expect the ball to drop for him and miscued his shot.

Charley Doyle had his head in his hands midway through the half. Hodkinson’s cross from the right picked out the midfielder who couldn’t generate the power from his header to trouble Mackenzie Chapman.

Hodkinson had a golden chance of his own minutes later. A clever driving run by Britton created the chance for Hodkinson to strike, but his tame effort was saved by Chapman.

The hosts’ only chance in the opening 45 came to Marcus Cusani, the attacker firing a low effort towards the near post which Bayleigh Passant was equal to.

Marine broke the deadlock seconds before the half time whistle. Doyle nodded the ball on from a high ball and was met by Britton who dribbled inside and unleashed a shot into the far bottom corner.

After the break, the Mariners looked to preserve their one goal advantage, with centre back duo Jonny Spittle and Johnson eliminating any danger that fell their way.

Passant’s afternoon remained quiet other than assertively claiming crosses and set-pieces from the flanks.

Britton had two wonderful chances to seal the home side’s fate late on.

The first came when a floated ball over the top saw the forward one on one with the ‘keeper, though an unfortunate bobble of the ball when he went to strike caused the opportunity to collapse.

Soon after, Sol Solomon initiated a fast breakaway before squaring the ball to Britton with the goal in his sights. He took on the effort first time but blazed the attempt over the bar.

The Mariners ran out as deserved winners at the full-time whistle, responding brilliantly to last weekend’s defeat.

Marine return to the MTA next Saturday for the visit of Guiseley, kicking off at 3pm.

Atherton Collieries: Chapman, Rooney, Amado, Pettifer (Peet 72), Lafferty ©, Hansen, Haw, Lenehan (Hardcastle 51), Thompson, Fitzmartin, Cusani (Brown 51).

Unused Substitutes: Smith, Ebosele.

Marine: Passant, Solomon-Davies, Bunney, Howarth, Johnson, Spittle, Hodkinson (Barrigan 73), Doyle © (Weir 82), Britton, Solomon, Lussey.

Unused Substitutes: Smith, Mendes, Miley.

Attendance: 425.

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