Marine progress to the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy, after a goalless draw with South Shields is settled on penalties.
In the absence of a few first team regulars, Marine shaped up in their now-usual system with three centre backs, with Mark Howarth, Danny Shaw and David Raven protecting Bayleigh Passant’s goal. David Lynch and James Devine occupied central midfield, with Ryan Wignall sitting just behind Owen Watkinson and Neil Kengni up front.
Starting with a frantic pace, the match saw both sides enjoy spells of possession in turn, looking to move the ball quickly. South Shields created the first half-chance of the game, with Conor Tee heading Callum Ross’ cross wide.
The ever-threatening Neil Kengni carved out the first Marine shot of the afternoon, darting down the right wing and cutting in, but he fired his effort high and wide.
Passant was on form in the Marine goal, as Darius Osei made his way into the box down the Shields’ right flank, but was met by the Marine ‘keeper who was quick off his line to smother the winger.
With the match starved of goal scoring opportunities, Marine yet again demonstrated fearlessness and an abundance of quality to go toe-to-toe with a side who currently sit second in the Northern Premier League.
At the break, it would be deemed that South Shields were slightly on top, enjoying the lion’s share of possession. However, Marine resiliently denied their higher league opposition any dangerous efforts on goal.
Into the second half, Marine started with intent, beginning to pose more of a goal scoring threat. With the best move of the game, Kengni and Wignall linked up on the edge of the box, passing around oncoming defenders, but Wignall was ultimately unable to take the ball into his path.
Around 20 minutes into the half, the biggest chance of the match saw substitute Dean Winnard meet Howarth’s inch perfect free kick but headed millimetres wide of the post. With big chances proving sparse, the match seemed destined for a shootout.
The two sides could not be separated in 90 minutes, so for the second time this season, the FA Trophy qualifier would be decided by penalties.
Stepping up first for Marine was substitute Lewis Reilly, who has proved to be clinical from the penalty spot during his first few months as a Mariner. Reilly coolly converted his penalty, but Robert Briggs quickly levelled the shootout for South Shields.
Next up was Howarth, who also smashed his effort past Myles Boney. Sam Hodgson once again equalised proceedings.
Captain David Raven came closest to being denied for Marine, but the power of his strike saw the home side take a 3-2 lead. Osei soon brought the shootout back to level terms.
Kengni put Marine back in the lead, before Tee stepped up and fired his effort high and wide, giving Marine the advantage.
Niall Cummins, who had been brought on late on in the match, stepped up for the decisive penalty, making no mistake with the finish and handing Marine another shootout victory. Yesterday’s win makes it four penalty victories in two years for the Mariners.
Next up for Marine is a home tie against Trafford, who currently sit sixth in the league, just a point behind Marine.
Marine line up: Passant, Solomon-Davies, Hayde, Howarth, Shaw, Raven(C), Watkinson (Reilly), Devine (Cummins), Lynch (Winnard), Wignall, Kengni