Tom Wardle Reports as Mariners March on in Penalty Shootout Victory…
Bayleigh Passant saved the decisive spot kick as Marine knocked out Radcliffe 4-3 on penalties, after the game ended one apiece in the Isuzu FA Trophy this afternoon. Charley Doyle gave the home side an early lead before Gareth Evans headed the visitors level four minutes later. Despite a dominant first half performance, the Mariners had to do it the hard way, but nevertheless progress into the First Round Proper of the competition.
Neil Young made four changes from his last game as Marine entertained Radcliffe for the third time so far this season. Sol Solomon made his first start for the club, with new Crewe Alexandra loanee Connor Evans named amongst the substitutes.
Solomon certainly caught the eye in the opening stages at the MTA. An acute flick stunned the Boro backline and found Hayden Campbell, whose strike to the right of the ‘keeper clipped off the post.
Mark Howarth returned to the side in a more familiar defensive midfield role and almost displayed his expertise at the other end, as his header at the back post cannoned off the crossbar following a corner.
It took until the 19th minute for the Mariners to finally make their pressure in front of goal count. A well-executed pass on the wing from Campbell put the Whites in an excellent position. It came to Doyle whose initial shot was blocked on the line by Rick Smith, though the midfielder bundled in a second effort to lift the home fans to their feet.
The lead lasted just four minutes as Radcliffe equalised with their first attack of the tie. Following multiple attempts from players in blue, Evans eventually rewrote Marine’s script, nodding the ball into the back of the net.
A major talking point in the match came when Solomon was believed to have been tripped up inside the away team’s box. However the referee showed no interest and play continued.
The Boro’s counter attacks were proving a problem for Young’s side, as both Evans and Luca Navarro came close to turning the game on its head. At the other end, Solomon classily took the ball around Tom Stewart in between the Radcliffe sticks, but the forward was too off-balanced to direct the ball home.
The second half demonstrated a more even contest, with neither side providing much of a threat at goal.
Passant had to stay switched on after enduring a quiet afternoon, when a fizzing strike swung to his right post. The Mariners’ number one threw a strong hand in the way to take it all the way to penalties.
After both sides missed one of their four spot kicks, Joe Ferguson netted to make it 4-3 to the hosts. Matty Crothers stepped up for Radcliffe, though his effort was met superbly by Passant, granting Marine a deserved victory on the day.
It’s a return to league action on Tuesday evening, as a trip to Nantwich Town awaits for a 7:45pm kick off.
Marine: Passant, Ferguson, Smith, Howarth, Wardle ©, Spittle, Barrigan (Harris 61), C.Doyle, Adams (Evans 45), Solomon, Campbell (Pedro 71).
Unused Substitutes: Clark, Mendes, A.Doyle, Weir.
Radcliffe: Stewart, Crothers, Mercer (Thornley 67), Joyce, Smith (J.Evans 45), Meppen-Walter, Rydel, Adams ©, G.Evans, Carter (Nivaldo 53), Navarro.
Unused Substitutes: Rose, Lees, Hardman.