Adam Yates reports from a jubilant Marine Travel Arena as the star of the hour was Bobby Grant who clinched victory against playoff contenders Guiseley with a breathtaking long-range strike that ignited the Crosby faithful into euphoria.

The triumph not only fortified the Mariners’ hold on 4th place but also denied their nearest rivals crucial points.

The opening half unfolded in a tense stalemate, characterized by relentless intensity as both teams probed for weaknesses.

A swift Guiseley counterattack following a Marine corner saw Michael Afuye burst into the penalty area, only to be thwarted by a decisive block from Harvey Gregson, while appeals for handball fell on deaf ears.

Marine keeper Bobby Jones had a heart-stopping moment when his clearance fell to Kallan Murphy, who unleashed a shot wide of the mark with Jones stranded off his line, narrowly averting a certain opener.

Gregson rattled the crossbar with a ferocious effort from close range, displaying remarkable skill despite the tight angle and limited space.

The second half commenced with the same fervour as the first, as both sides vied for possession and dominance.

Chris Doyle’s heroic block and a stunning save from Bobby Jones denied Liam Tongue twice, showcasing Marine’s defensive resilience.

As Marine gained momentum in possession, their attacking threat intensified, culminating in the breakthrough moment.

In the 78th minute, jubilation erupted among the crowd as local hero Bobby Grant showcased extraordinary vision. Seizing on a his own loose ball barely past the halfway line, Grant unleashed an audacious, curling effort that spectacularly swerved on target, leaving goalkeeper Oliver Battersby with an impossible task. His gloves tipped the edge of the ball to stop it’s velocity but it didn’t affect its trajectory and the ball continued the inevitable journey into the net.

A testament to Marine’s victory was their adept containment of Guiseley’s star striker Gabriel Johnson, effectively nullifying his prolific threat throughout the match.

Marine’s resolute defence expertly managed the closing minutes, effectively running down the clock and securing the vital three points.

Manager Neil Young commended his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of the match and singling out Bobby Grant for particular praise. “We knew today was a very important game…I think this was Bobby Grant’s best performance. We showed maturity when we went ahead. The reverse fixture was one of our worst performances but our back four have dealt with the likes of Gabriel Johnson really well.”

Next up is the annual Non League Day and we head up north to Lancaster City with only 7 league fixtures left in what has already been a season to remember.

Marine: 1 Bobby Jones, 2 Scott Butler, 3 Freddie Sass, 4 Harvey Gregson, 5 Chris Doyle, 6 Josh Wardle, 7 Finlay Sinclair-Smith, 8 Jon Routledge (Louis White 60), 9 Bobby Grant, 10 Sol Solomon, 11 Owen Robinson (Jack Bainbridge 60).

Subs: 12 Matty Waters, 14 Owen Windsor, 15 Jack Bainbridge, 16 Liam Nolan, 17 Louis White

Guiseley: 1 Oliver Battersby, 2 Ollie Brown, 3 Jordi Nsaka, 4 Prince Ekpolo, 5 Aiden Walker, 6 Jameel Ible, 7 Michael Afuye (Tom Denton 75′), 8 Liam Tongue, 9 Kallan Murphy (Hagie Damba 82′), 10 Gabriel Johnson, 11 Luke Mariette (Kofi Moore 83′)

Subs: 12 Adam Dawson, 14 Kofi Moore, 15 Tom Denton, 16 Josh Ashman, 13 Hagie Damba

Northern Premier League – Premier Division Saturday 16th March 2024

Man of the Match – Bobby Grant

Attendance 1463

Photo – Tom Murphy

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