Both sides were made to regret missed chances, as Marine drew 0-0 with Atherton Collieries in an end-to-end FA Cup Qualifier.
In a match where clear cut chances were sparse for both sides, set pieces proved to be the most likely route to an opener. Several first half corners saw nervous moments from Danny Taberner, as the goalkeeper fumbled a couple of crosses.
Atherton grew into the half as the match went on, with the likes of Ben Conway and Jack Lenehan beginning to have more of an influence on the match. The Colls’ centre forward, Marcus Cusani also looked threatening throughout the whole match, mixing up his play by holding up the ball as well as looking to run in behind the Mariners back line.
The most clear-cut chance of the first half came from a corner, as Danny Shaw rose the highest to head his effort goalwards, but was blocked on the line and eventually scrambled away.
With the rain sporadically pouring during the course of the afternoon, the pitch at the Skuna Stadium proved difficult for some of the players, as ball retention was hard to gather for Marine. The duo of Alex Doyle and James Barrigan was often bypassed in the build-up play, instead focussing on picking up second balls when required.
Going into half time, manager Neil Young would have wanted a more in terms of chance creation, but will have been happy with the defensive solidity shown from the likes of Shaw, Mark Howarth and James Devine, with Howarth especially impressing on the left of a back three.
A few more chances came in the second half for Marine, with Neil Kengni beginning to enjoy more of the ball. Kengni got the better of Joel Amado on a number of occasions, but ultimately failed to find the back of the net.
Ten minutes into the second half, Luca Defreitas-Hansen saw his headed effort cleared off the line from a corner, as Bayleigh Passant brilliantly denied the centre half. Passant also managed to save the second chance, in the ‘keepers only major involvement.
In the dying seconds of the match, Atherton’s corner was cleared long by the Marine defence, allowing Kengni a run at goal, with defenders attempting to stay with him. With just Kyle Hayde in support, Kengni slid the ball into the path of Hayde, but the young defender was only able to aim his effort straight at Taberner. With the final whistle coming shortly after, you have to chalk that chance down as a huge missed opportunity.
Overall a draw was a fair reflection on the match, with Atherton slightly on top in the first half and Marine dominating spells in the second. The replay will take place on Tuesday night at the Marine Travel Arena.
Marine line up: Passant, Hayde, Joyce, Howarth, Shaw, Devine, Watkinson, Doyle, Cummins, Barrigan, Kengni