Tom Clarke reports as the Mariners put in a sweet second half performance against the Mintcakes…
Marine returned to league action with an emphatic win away at Kendal Town on Saturday afternoon thanks to goals from Jay Devine and Josh Hmami, and a double from Neil Kengni.
Kengni started in a central role again as Niall Cummins was among the substitutes, and the pacy forward looked to stretch the Kendal back line early on forcing former Marine stopper Morgan Bacon into action.
Hayden Campbell, on a month’s loan from Salford City, made his full Marine debut and almost marked it with a goal when Kenny Strickland sent in a cross from right-back which just missed the 18-year-old’s head after 16 minutes.
The Mariners looked to trouble Kendal from set pieces in the first half, as Bacon was forced to push away a Hmami free-kick before James Barrigan’s corner struck the crossbar.
James Joyce came off injured on the half hour mark after suffering a knock, as Danny Shaw took his place. The sodden pitch took a battering as the heavens opened shortly before half time, but the Mariners soldiered on through tough conditions.
Shaw had a rare sight of goal shortly before half time when his long-range effort drifted wide of the post. Hmami won a free-kick just on the edge of the box as the break approached, and Bacon got down well to make the save only to push it onto the leg of Anthony Miley, who deflected it out of play.
Marine pushed on in the second half and Ryan Wignall dropped a cross on the head of Barrigan just after the break, but the midfielder couldn’t quite direct it towards goal.
Niall Cummins made his return from a facial injury on the hour mark, coming on to replace Campbell. His presence had an almost immediate effect, teeing up Devine just three minutes later for the former Tranmere youth captain to slot home into the bottom corner from the edge of the box for 0-1..
Josh Solomon-Davies also returned from injury to replace Kenny Strickland on 75 minutes, and it only took the Mariners four minutes to score after that change. It was an excellent solo effort from Hmami, who ran from his own half to slot past Bacon and make it 0-2.
Adam Hughes showed his class at an unfamiliar end of the pitch on 85 minutes when doing well to work a shot from the edge of the box which Bacon could only parry into the path of Kengni, who gratefully tapped the ball home for 0-3.
Kengni notched again to make it four in stoppage time after a great Mariners move. Wignall played a one-two with Hmami before driving down the right wing and squaring inside for Cummins, who brought out Bacon before setting up Kengni for an open goal.
The Mariners ultimately went on to bring home the bacon with a 0-4 scoreline, and go into Christmas in sixth place in the league with two games in hand on leaders Ramsbottom United, who are seven points ahead of Neil Young’s side.
They next face City of Liverpool away from home on Boxing Day, before welcoming Prescot Cables to the MTA on New Year’s Day in a 3pm kick-off.
Kendal Town: Morgan Bacon, Jackson Hulme (Christopher Humphrey, 53), Ben Anderson, Thomas Fagan (Gregory Mccaragher, 65), Charlie Barnes, Seydou Bamba, Charlie Birch, Robert Liam Lightfoot, Hugo Rodriguez, Jamie Armstrong, J’Nai Butterfield-Steede (Ryan Rogers, 63).
Unused subs: Jordan Scott, Sheldon Mossop.
Marine: Bayleigh Passant, Kenny Strickland (Josh Solomon-Davies, 76), James Joyce (Danny Shaw, 35), Jay Devine, Anthony Miley, Adam Hughes, Ryan Wignall, Josh Hmami, Neil Kengni, Hayden Campbell (Niall Cummins, 60), James Barrigan.
Unused subs: Germano Mendes.
Goals: Jay Devine (63), Josh Hmami (79), Neil Kengni (86, 90).
Referee: Alexander Beckett. Assistant referees: Malcom Bellamy, Liam Oliver.
Pictures by Susan Nugent.