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Raven soars to guide Mariners through to 2nd Qualifying Round…

David Raven’s first goal for Marine, a 72nd minute header, proved decisive in a tense but entertaining Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round tie at Frickley Athletic’s Westfield Lane stadium on Tuesday evening.

Manager Neil Young shuffled his early-season pack once again, as Bayleigh Passant, Kenny Strickland, James Ellison, Mikey Howard, Mo Touray and Ryan Wignall were handed starts. Strickland deputised as captain for Niall Cummins who was named as a substitute, whilst Alex Doyle, Adam Hughes, and Josh Solomon-Davies were all unavailable for the midweek trip to South Elmsall.

In the early stages the blue-shirted homesters enjoyed plenty of possession in the Marine half and had the ball in the net after just 7 minutes, however the goal was correctly chalked off for handball against former Tranmere Rovers striker Margetts.

A number of decisive blocks in the Marine area limited Passant’s work, although the young ‘keeper was on hand to field several testing crosses as the in-form Athletic sought first blood.

The Mariners began to find their stride, with the rapid attacking triumvirate of Howard, Kengni and Touray to the fore.

The Crosby side created but squandered a couple of excellent early scoring opportunities, firstly as Wignall advanced to the byline and his exquisite chip found Josh Hmami three yards out, centre of goal, however the Summer signing couldn’t keep his header down as the chance went begging.

Howard was next to threaten, as Kengni’s low ball from the right found the ex-Morecambe man 12 yards out, however things didn’t quite go Howard’s way as his somewhat tame side-footed finish was blocked by a defender’s outstretched leg.

In an end-to-end encounter, Frickley also missed a golden opportunity of their own as Margetts’ header flashed inches wide.

Touray began to exert his influence on proceedings as the young’s striker’s shot from the angle was turned behind at his near post by non-hirsute custodian Nicholson. The on-loan Salford striker then gave a glimpse of his dazzling skill, tying a home defender in knots but unfortunately falling backwards as he tried to finish from 10 yards with just Nicholson to beat, the’ keeper being able to gather at the second attempt as the ball trickled towards the goalline.

At the other end, Frickley continued to pose an attacking threat without unduly troubling Passant as the game remained in stalemate at the interval.

Frickley began the second half on the front foot as the Mariners were indebted to colossal defensive performances from Anthony Miley and David Raven, the centre-half partnership producing several notable challenges and protecting Passant from the home side’s increasingly aerial bombardment.

Niall Cummins was introduced to provide a foil for the electric Touray, with James Barrigan also entering the fray on the left flank to add energy and impetus.

Ex-Buxton striker Grayson sent an effort a yard or two wide of Passant’s right-hand post when well-placed inside the Marine area before the only goal of the game arrived on 72 minutes, with thoughts perhaps turning toward a penalty shoot-out to decide the tie.

Barrigan, who found himself the subject of some uncompromising attention from Frickley’s right-back Hugo, helped provide the poetic justice Neil Young’s men required as he won his side a free-kick a yard outside the corner of the box on the left hand side. Hmami delivered from a similar angle and distance to his winning goal against Barnoldswick, but this time curled in a cross which allowed Raven to glance a header in via the far post to the delight of the travelling Marine support.

The home side tried to respond immediately and had appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Goodwin, before the Mariners were gifted the chance to seal the tie in the closing stages. An errant attempted clearance from Nicholson fell straight to Touray on the edge of the box, who managed to bring the ball under control and slip past the last defender. Touray feigned to shoot, the striker’s skill forcing Nicholson to take a seat on the lush playing surface, but with the goal at his mercy Touray fired inches over the bar, denying himself the goal his outstanding performance on the night surely merited.

The home side huffed and puffed in added time in their bid to take the tie to penalties, but the Mariners remained resolute and saw out time to ensure their place in Friday’s draw for the 2nd Qualifying Round.

Marine now turn their attention to the FA Trophy as they travel to Tadcaster Albion on Saturday afternoon for a 1st Qualifying Round tie. Kick-off at Ings Lane is at 3pm.

Marine: Bayleigh Passant, Kenny Strickland © (James Joyce 88), James Ellison, James Devine, Anthony Miley, David Raven, Michael Howard, Josh Hmami, Neil Kengni (James Barrigan 67), Mo Touray, Ryan Wignall (Niall Cummins 57).

Unused subs: Danny Shaw, Germano Mendes.

Frickley Athletic: Tom Nicholson, James Hugo, Tyler Williams, Chris Salt, Todd Jordan, Nathan Hotte (Nathan Jarman 76), Nyle Blake, Kegan Etherington (Josh McLauchlan 90), Jonathan Margetts ©, Brad Grayson, Jack Wightwick.

Unused subs: Kyle O’Reilly, Kern Miller, Gavin Saxby.

Goal: Marine; Raven (72)

Referee: Joe Goodwin
Assistants: Umar Ahmed and Daniel Gilpin

Attendance: 202