Tom Clarke reports as 120th-minute Niall Cummins winner means Marine are the second club in FA Cup history to reach the Third Round from the eighth tier…
Marine continued their historic FA Cup journey with another magical moment at the MTA last night.
With fans unable to attend local residents made sure the team were fully supported, with fans climbing their trees, sitting on the rooves of their garden sheds and peering out of their windows to get a view of the action.
The MTA was arranged like a film set, with gantries scaffolded on top of the Jubilee Road shelter to accommodate BT Sport cameras. National media outlets came from far and wide to witness the magic of the FA Cup…
Havant & Waterlooville, two levels above Marine in the football pyramid, proved tough opposition and both teams found it difficult to break each other down in the early exchanges.
The visitors were a threat from set plays, threatening the Marine back line with long throw-in and free-kick routines within the first few minutes. Birthday boy Bayleigh Passant continuously got up well to claim, as well as some crucial clearances from the ever-reliable centre-back pairing of Anthony Miley and David Raven.
The Mariners looked to stretch the Hawks’ back line as well, with Mo Touray forging a way through down the left-hand side for their first opening of the game, but red-robed Ross Worner kept him out.
Marine’s first big chance of the game came on 14 minutes, when James Barrigan whipped in a free kick from the right of the box which Anthony Miley met with his head, but the effort was just over the crossbar – a warning shot for Worner.
The team in black and gold went close again ten minutes later when Niall Cummins’ header from close range was goal-bound, only for Worner to get behind it.
Marine almost forged ahead on the stroke of half-time when a triple-chance had many a backside on the edge of Marine fans’ couches. Mo Touray unleashed a shot from the edge of the box which struck the post before Neil Kengni had a go of his own which deflected and fell to Josh Hmami, whose final effort was over the crossbar.
Jay Devine entered the fray at the break in place of Alex Doyle after the on-loan midfielder picked up a knock.
It was a game of set-pieces again early in the second half, with both team’s organisations tested on multiple occasions. Raven threatened the Hawks twice in quick succession with headers at goal, one of which forced Worner into a smart save.
Touray found more luck from drifting into central positions during the second half and got in behind the defence several times only to be thwarted by the in-form Worner. The visitors weren’t content to stay on the ropes, biting back almost immediately with a strike against Passant’s post.
The Mariners had the ball in the back of the net with ten minutes left of regulation time, Hmami lashing into an empty net from close range but play had already been stopped for a foul on the goalkeeper by Cummins.
The Hawks were reduced to ten men on 88 minutes when Anthony Straker was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Kengni, presenting a late opportunity for the Mariners to take advantage. The game went to extra time, offering 30 more minutes for them to do so.
There were penalty shouts for both sides during extra time; first Touray was felled by Worner in the box after breaking through but the referee argued that the ‘keeper had won the ball. The Hawks appealed for one of their own just after, but the foul was just outside the box so it was a free kick instead, and Passant duly punched clear.
Neil Young was forced into a couple of extra-time changes as Hmami and Josh Solomon-Davies both had to come off with knocks, so Ryan Wignall and Kenny Strickland took their places respectively.
The final warning shot came on 115 minutes, when Strickland’s cross found Miley at the back post but his header was saved.
Then, on 120 minutes, Marine made English football history. Barrigan sent a free kick into the box from just inside the Hawks’ half which Anthony Miley flicked across goal and found the diving figure of Niall Cummins, who knocked the ball over Worner and into the net with his back as he hit the deck and sent Mariners into ecstasy.
Captain Cummins got up and wheeled away in celebration, only to be jumped on by all his teammates, including those who had come off injured.
It was a nervy two minutes’ added time but when the final whistle blew, the real celebrations began. Champagne was brought onto the MTA pitch and corks popped, before Passant (now famously) ran to the local shop in full kit to provide the beverages for his teammates.
A truly historic day for Marine Football Club.
The attentions now turn to tonight’s draw live at the MTA, where Marine will be ball number 58 live on BBC One at 7pm.
Marine: Bayleigh Passant, Josh Solomon-Davies (Kenny Strickland, 108), James Joyce, Alex Doyle (Jay Devine, 46), Anthony Miley, David Raven, Neil Kengni, Josh Hmami (Ryan Wignall, 103), Niall Cummins, Mo Touray (Adam Hughes, 120), James Barrigan.
Unused subs: Germano Mendes, Mikey Howard, Danny Shaw.
Havant & Waterlooville: Ross Worner, Benny Read, Anthony Straker, Moussa Diarra, Sam Magri, Josh Taylor, Billy Clifford (Theo Widdrington, 60 ((George McLennan, 91))), Craig Robson (Giuseppe Iaciofano, 72), Bedsente Gomis (Lucas Sinclair, 81), Tommy Wright, Rorrie Deakon.
Unused subs: Simon Walton, Daniel Ajakaije, Joe Tupperware.
Referee: Ross Joyce. Assistant referees: Richard Woodward, Andrew Hendley. Fourth official: James Bell.
Goals: Marine – Niall Cummins (120).
Pictures by Pro Sports Images Ltd.