Ben Hughes scored on his first start for the club as Neil Kengni and Niall Cummins complete a 3-0 win at Ramsbottom United.
Much like the win at Newcastle Town on Saturday, it was Marine who started the more brightly of the two teams, dominating the early midfield battle through the tenacious David Lynch and Alex Doyle. The Mariners had a couple of penalty shouts too, with captain Niall Cummins and Doyle seemingly manhandled to the ground, but the referee waved play on for both incidents.
Despite being second best for much of the first half, Ramsbottom did cause one or two problems for Marine, with wingers Domaine Rouse and Godwin Abadaki in particular looking to stretch the Crosby sides’ back line. The Rams best chance of the first half came from a low driven cross from right back Owen Collinge, with Edward Cooper’s effort saved well by Bayleigh Passant.
Rams goalkeeper Oliver Martin was perhaps fortunate to not be dismissed for his challenge on Neil Kengni, as the forward tapped the ball past the onrushing ‘keeper on the edge of the penalty area, only to be taken out by Martin. The referee deemed this a yellow card offence with a free kick awarded.
The deadlock was finally broken just before half time, with new signing Ben Hughes taking his first-time effort well just inside the box, slotting the ball into the bottom left corner. Hughes had an impressive game in his first start for the club, replacing Mark Howarth in the starting line-up.
Half time and well in control, the goal just before the break would have made Neil Young’s team talk slightly easier, but the victory was far from confirmed.
Predictably, Ramsbottom came out for the second half with an extra spring in their step, looking to apply early pressure in search of an equaliser. Rouse began to take up more central positions in an attempt to increase his influence on the game, making him difficult to pick up at times.
However, after managing to weather an early second half storm of Rams pressure, the away side made it two. James Barrigan’s cross from the left eventually found its way through to Kengni, who instinctively fired into the bottom right corner. The 21-year-old gave another outstanding performance, scoring his second goal in as many games in the process.
The game began to fizzle out, with the second Marine goal appearing to dishearten the home side. Doyle and substitute Howarth ran the show in midfield, with the former making several firm-but-fair challenges around the centre of the pitch.
Victory for the Mariners was confirmed in the 88th minute, with Passant’s long drop ball bouncing over the heads of United’s defence, with Cummins on hand to volley his effort into the top right corner. The striker once again linked the play effectively today and will be pleased to open his account for the season.
Two wins from two, six points from six and six goals scored so far this season. All-in-all the manager will be pleased with another dominant performance, in which his team could have scored even more if certain decisions had gone their way. Next up is a trip to Workington, as the Mariners begin their FA Cup journey for the 2021-22 campaign.