Tom Clarke reports as a couple of Josh Hmami free-kicks hand the Mariners three points…
Marine were 2-0 victors at the DCBL stadium in a behind closed doors league fixture on Wednesday evening, with current council restrictions in Halton halting fans from attending.
Neil Young continued with a back three of Adam Hughes, Danny Shaw and Anthony Miley after David Raven failed a late fitness test.
It took just six minutes for the Mariners to take the lead, Hmami stepping up to curl a free kick past home custodian Cameron Terry from 20 yards for the opening goal.
Widnes responded well to the goal, creating several chances of their own which Bayleigh Passant was forced to thwart.
Marine continued their own pressure, though, Neil Kengni with a good chance after Hughes sent the ball over the top of the Widnes back line but the pacy forward’s strike from the edge of the box was held by Terry.
Hmami caused trouble from dead ball situations throughout the game, once planting a free kick from just inside the Widnes half on the head of Niall Cummins, and the captain’s effort was not far wide of the post.
In-form midfielder Hmami dictated the play for extended periods, and it was his corner from which Marine almost doubled their lead when Hughes’ goal-bound header was deflected tantalisingly across the face of goal close to the half-hour mark.
The Mariners won another free kick just inside the attacking third 33 minutes into the game, and there was only one man for the job. Hmami stepped up and his effort was deflected by the Widnes wall past Terry and into the back of the net to make it 0-2.
Kingsley Williams was lively in the middle of the park for the hosts, and Passant was called into action once again to prevent the Whites from pulling one back through the midfielder as the game continued into the second period.
Left wing-back James Barrigan then found space between the home centre-backs to get a shot away from the edge of the box and almost made it three, but his shot drifted just wide of the mark.
Widnes won a free-kick of their own in a dangerous position on the hour mark, and Kyle Sambor sent the home dugout into hysterics as his shot nestled into the side netting, only for the coaching staff to then realise it had gone the wrong side of the upright.
Cummins had a headed chance from yet another Hmami free kick not long after, but Terry was there once again to collect.
Hughes took a kick to the shin and had to be replaced by James Devine after 69 minutes, as Young brought further defensive reinforcements into play in Kenny Strickland and James Joyce to see out the result in place of Ryan Wignall and Danny Shaw respectively.
Daniel Ventre was dismissed just six minutes after entering play as a substitute following a foul on Hmami on 81 minutes, as Marine saw out the 2-0 win.
The Mariners welcome Tadcaster Albion to the MTA in a league game this Saturday 10th October in a 3pm kick-off, and tickets can be purchased via the following link:
Widnes: Cameron Terry, Jay Roberts, Jack Hatton (Tom Moore, 79), Fisnik Hajdari (Daniel Ventre, 58), Michael Burke, Alex McQuade, Jordan Southworth, Kingsley Williams (Kevin Towey, 79), Kyle Sambor, James Steele, Michael Conlon.
Unused subs: Callum Humphries, Shaun Holden.
Marine: Bayleigh Passant, Alex Doyle, James Barrigan, Adam Hughes (James Devine, 69), Anthony Miley, Danny Shaw (James Joyce, 64), Mikey Howard, Josh Hmami, Niall Cummins, Ryan Wignall (Kenny Strickland, 73), Neil Kengni.
Unused subs: James Ellison, Germano Mendes.
Goals: Josh Hmami 6′, 33′.