Windy conditions dominate a thrilling encounter, as goals from James Barrigan and Lewis Reilly secure a 2-1 win away at City of Liverpool.
Alex Doyle returned from injury to partner captain James Barrigan in central midfield, with Steve Irwin playing just ahead of them. Joe White lined up alongside Mark Howarth and Dean Winnard in defence, as Lewis Reilly and Owen Watkinson retained their places in attack.
City of Liverpool started the match with the wind behind them, which ultimately influenced their game plan, as they frequently attempted to play the ball long into target man Josh Quarless, for top goal scorer Jack Hazlehurst and Michael Monaghan to feed off flick ons. However, a solid performance from the Mariners’ back three ensured the Purps’ front line only had scraps to work with.
Marine’s best chance of the first half came after a sublime display of dribbling from Neil Kengni down the left wing resulted in a cross for Watkinson, but the forward could only find the side netting with his left footed effort.
At half time, Neil Young would have been pleased that the score remained goalless, as Marine weathered the storm to restrict City of Liverpool’s wind advantage.
Into the second half and it didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken.
A throw-in from White into the body of Reilly was held up well, before the centre forward played in Irwin, who brilliantly got past one defender in the box before cutting back to Barrigan, with the midfielder’s low strike nestling in the bottom right corner.
Marine began to exploit their wind advantage, but Reilly saw his long-range effort comfortably held by Oliver Martin.
City of Liverpool did not give in however, and managed to level the score just after the hour mark. A quickly taken free kick from the halfway line was fizzed into the penalty area and controlled by Hazlehurst, who turned and fired into the bottom right corner of Aidan Dowling’s goal.
But Hazlehurst’s equaliser was cancelled out just four minutes later. Winnard’s long ball forward was controlled excellently inside the penalty area by Irwin, who was bundled over by James Edgar, winning Marine a penalty.
Reilly stepped up and slotted into the same corner that Barrigan had found earlier in the half to re-establish the Mariners’ lead.
Scenes turned ugly after a poor tackle on Irwin saw tempers flare, resulting in a large brawl between the two sets of players. The altercation appeared to boil over when Hazlehurst seemingly punched Ben Hughes in the face following a shove from Hughes once the two had squared up. Hazlehurst predictably received a red card, meaning City of Liverpool would finish the match with 10 men.
The red card spelled the end of any threatening nature to City of Liverpool’s attack (in a football sense) and Marine went on to dominate the remainder of the match. Niall Cummins came off the bench to curl an effort goalwards but it was caught comfortably by Martin in goal.
Another impressive performance from Marine makes it two wins on the bounce, as they appear to have put their poor run of form behind them. Special mentions must go to the back three of Winnard, Howarth and White, who were outstanding.
Marine: Dowling, Hughes, Barrigan, Howarth, White, Winnard, Watkinson (Newell), Doyle (Wignall), Reilly (Cummins), Kengni