Tom Wardle reports as Marine held by Lancaster in stalemate…

The new pitch at the Marine Travel Arena will have to wait to see its first goal, as the Mariners fought out a goalless draw against Lancaster City on Tuesday evening. Despite there being little goalmouth action of real note, the result means Marine start the season with back to back clean sheets in their opening two fixtures in the Northern Premier League.

A crowd of 1108 fans for the first home game of the season was the highest of the evening throughout the NPL Premier. Additional positives for Neil Young’s side were the return to the bench for midfielder Alex Doyle, and also a space in the dugout for new signing Djavan Pedro.

Both teams struggled to find a breakthrough for the entirety of the first 45. Marine’s Hayden Campbell cleanly connected to a cross from the left inside ten minutes, but his effort was comfortably gathered by Dolly Blues’ goalkeeper Jordan Eastham.

Following yellow cards to eventual man of the match Josh Wardle and Charley Doyle, arose the half’s main talking point. It came five minutes before the interval, when Jake Burton intercepted the ball across the Lancaster backline. He cleverly weaved through a couple of dangling legs until hitting the deck, with shouts for a penalty ringing all around the MTA. However, referee David Burton didn’t touch his whistle until blowing for the end of the first half moments later.

The style of the game didn’t change following the break, as Lancaster’s experienced and physical side continued to prove a difficulty for Young’s players.

The home boss didn’t hesitate to use his artillery off the bench, as Kielen Adams and Callum Harris entered the field of play soon after the hour mark.

Lucas Weir’s free kick in-between the two changes found his skipper Wardle, but the Whites’ centre back wasn’t able to direct the ball past Eastham.

Marine fullback Josh Solomon-Davies crossed the halfway line numerous times during the match, and eventually had an effort of his own. He cut inside and and swung his left boot at the ball which forced the visiting goalkeeper into another composed save.

The loudest the Crosby fans were all night was following the introduction of the new recruit Pedro, who instantly attempted to unease Mark Fell’s defence that had looked so solid throughout the game.

Though despite a surge of late pressure, the Mariners had to settle for a highly contested point. Now all eyes turn to Saturday, where Marine will entertain league favourites, South Shields, for a 3pm kick-off at the MTA.

Marine: Passant, Solomon-Davies, Smith, Howarth, Wardle ©, Spittle, C.Doyle, Lussey (Harris 71), Campbell (Pedro 78), Burton (Adams 66), Weir.

Unused subs: Clark, A.Doyle

Lancaster City: Eastham, S.Bailey, Brownhill, Gallagher-Allinson, Teague ©, Mellen, C.Bailey, Cowperthwaite, Lawson, Whitham, Evangelinos (Connelly 78).

Unused subs: Hubbold, Anderson, Ipakwu, Davidson.

Attendance: 1,108

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