Two goals from Ryan Wignall gave Marine a 2-1 win over City of Liverpool, as they continue to push at the top of the league.
As they have done frequently in recent weeks, Marine lined up with three centre backs, with Mark Howarth and Danny Shaw sitting wide of the stand-in skipper David Raven. The in-form Alex Doyle and the returning David Lynch lined up in midfield, with Neil Kengni and Ryan Wignall supporting Lewis Reilly in attack.
The home side started the game brightly, shifting the ball from side to side with pace and looking to penetrate the Purps’ defence with every opportunity. Defender Tom Morris had a fine game at centre back, denying the Mariners aerially and with a number of strong challenges.
Kengni looked threatening with the ball at his feet and almost scored a stunning solo goal after a run from the right wing, before missing the target with his effort.
Reilly thought he had opened the scoring midway through the first half after meeting a Kengni cross with a diving header, but the linesman’s flag denied the number nine.
Defensively, Marine looked solid and organised and were hardly challenged by opposition attackers. Raven in particular impressed, looking as calm and assured on the ball as always.
The half time message would have been to continue as they had been playing, with only the final finish preventing Marine from gaining a comfortable lead.
Soon into the second half the deadlock was broken, as Raven’s sliding challenge inadvertently played in Kengni down the inside right channel, who was able to play a low ball across the box for the waiting Ryan Wignall. The goal came as a relief and a reward for a first half of dominance.
Just a few minutes later Wignall struck again. A long ball forward was flicked on by Reilly, excellently controlled by Wignall and slid underneath the goalkeeper at the near post. The attacker’s fourth league goal of the season gave Marine more of a cushion, taking any potential sting out of the game.
Wignall may well have had a hat trick soon after, cutting in from the left wing and creating space for a shot, but his effort was excellently saved by Daniel Trabener.
City of Liverpool began to pose more of an attacking threat throughout the half, after James Murphy’s tricky footwork down their right wing allowed him to lay off for James Edgar, but the midfielder’s effort was blocked.
The visitors clawed a goal back in fortunate circumstances, as Edgar’s corner was turned into his own net by Raven, who saw the ball late and had little time to react. With nine minutes left on the clock, Marine looked to sure up the defence bringing on Dean Winnard, returning after a lengthy injury lay-off.
Referee David Croft brought an end to the match with his full-time whistle, in a game which probably should have been more comfortable for Marine. However, with the abundance of games already played and with a few first team players missing, the players and staff can be proud to have picked up yet another win. Next up for Marine is the visit of South Shields, as the Mariners look to progress in the FA Trophy.
Marine: B Passant, Solomon-Davies, Hayde, Howarth, Shaw, Raven, Lynch (Devine), Doyle (Chan), Reilly (Winnard), Wignall, Kengni