WHITE’S ALL RIGHT ON THE NIGHT AS MARINERS MARCH ON…
Adam Yates reports from The Shay Stadium.
A Louis White goal coupled with an impressive defensive performance capped off an emotional day away at The Shay as Marine beat FC Halifax Town 1-0.
The result means that Marine enter the First Round Proper for the first time since their historic 2020-21 run which we all know culminated in a closed doors televised visit from Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur.
Marine fans today, on the other hand, blew the Shay’s doors wide open with an amazing travelling contingent of 363 fans in full voice throughout the game.
Upon kick off, National League outfit Halifax asserted their position clear with pace and attacks down the wing and it looked like it was going to be a difficult day ahead for the Mariners. However, after 7 minutes, that all changed. Halifax lost possession to Finlay Sinclar Smith and he quickly delivered a pass to former Halifax player Louis White on the edge of the box. White composed a low shot past Halifax keeper and captain Johnson into the bottom corner to send Marine into the lead.
The goal not only gave Marine the lead but the belief that they were the ones to be feared and possession was in their favour throughout most of the first half to the frustration of the home fans who bemoaned their team’s performance.
Sol Solomon nearly doubled the lead minutes later. His free kick was headed back to him and he drove down the side past a defender and blasted a tight angle shot prompting a vital save from Johnson.
Tylor Golden found himself wide open from a long arching pass but his shot was high and wide. in fact, the majority of Halifax’s many shots went in that same direction and the home fans were pleading for their manager to give the team a striker that they have apparently been lacking in recent weeks due to their low return in goals.
The end of the first half was preceded by a long range effort by Willem Tomlinson. Manasse Mampala won the ball deep in the Town half and passed to Sinclair-Smith who couldn’t find an angle of his own. Fin passed out to Tomlinson whose shot was well parried by Johnson.
The second half was a much tighter affair. Halifax came out on fire and gave the wing backs plenty of work to do as well as Felix Goddard who was called into action on numerous occasions.
However most of the attempts felt rushed as the pressure ramped up on them from the crowd.
Neil Young made changes to keep the team as energised as possible with appearances from Carberry, Osei and Ferguson. Vital challenges and clearances were made constantly by the defensive line as well as cover from Jordan Lussey who was immense in midfield and deserved his eventual Man of the Match award.
Two notable chances for Marine went wanting in the second half. Louis White may have been watching the David Beckham documentary this week as he attempted his own Selhurst Park moment but the effort did not hit the target. The next chance came to Darius Osei who was played onside by a high Halifax line but he opted to shoot rather than pass and the attempt went into the stand.
Florent Hoti gave Marine the biggest scare in the 85th minute. Ryan Galvin pulled it back to the midfielder, but Hoti fired wide of the target.
After nearly 45 mins of constant defending, Marine heard the final whistle and was declared the sole owners of ball number 51 in Sunday’s FA Cup First round draw.
As the team headed to the away end of the Shay to celebrate, the day became appropriately not only a celebration of Marine but that of a man who loved them. Earlier in the month, former President David Wotherspoon passed away and this was the first opportunity fans had to celebrate his Mighty Mariner life. A flag from the Crosender Supporters adorned with David and the slogan ‘One of our Own’ was handed to the players and, along with manager Neil Young, was held aloft to allow a period of emotional and bittersweet celebration that he was not here to witness the next chapter in Marine’s history.
As Neil said in his post match interview..
“That was for him today”.
FC Halifax Town:
1 Sam Johnson ©, 2 Tylor Golden (18 Florent Hoti 46), 3 Ryan Galvin, 4 Luke Summerfield (12 Jack Evans 81) 5 Adam Senior, 6 Jamie Stott, 8 Jack Hunter, 14 Kane Thompson-Sommers, 17 Max Wright, 19 Aaron Cosgrave, 22 Andrew Oluwabori (11 Millenic Alli 46)
Subs: 31 Tom Scott, 16 Jordan Keane, 21 Tom Wilson, 26 Justin Iwobi
1 Felix Goddard, 2 Kyle Hayde, 3 Nathan Woodthorpe, 4 Jordan Lussey, 5 Chris Doyle, 6 Josh Wardle ©, 7 Finlay Sinclair-Smith, 8 Louis White, 9 Manasse Mampala (16 Michael Carberry 52) 10 Sol Solomon (12 Joe Ferguson 81) 11 Willem Tomlinson (14 Darius Osei 67)
Subs: 13 Richard Cowderoy (GK), 15 Will Russ
Referee: Dean Watson
Goals – White 7′
Yellow Cards: Halifax – Hunter 21, Cosgrave 42, Wright 43,
Marine – Solomon 45, Lussey 63, Goddard 83
Red Cards: None
Attendance: 1646 (363 away)