Set­back has Mariners back down to earth

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life - MA­RINE ...................................................... 0 WAR­RING­TON TOWN .............................. 4 BY RALPH RANDS

MA­RINE fell to a home de­feat in the Bank Hol­i­day clash with War­ring­ton Town at the Ma­rine Travel Arena in a game which was much more closely-con­tested than the fi­nal score­line sug­gests.

The Mariners’ start­ing XI re­mained un­changed as they sought their third win in seven days, but the vis­i­tors cer­tainly de­served their vic­tory, clin­i­cally tak­ing their chances to pun­ish Tommy Law­son’s side at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

The open­ing ex­changes pro­vided lit­tle in the way of goal­mouth ac­tion as the two teams bat­tled for early supremacy.

The Mariners man­aged the first sight of goal on 11 min­utes as Danny Mitch­ley forced a cor­ner which Vinny Bai­ley swung over from the left.

Adam Hughes con­nected with a header from eight yards which was di­rected straight at Town goal­keeper Tony McMil­lan who held se­curely.

War­ring­ton threat­ened five min­utes later as a low free-kick from their left evaded vet­eran striker Tony Gray’s run, the ball rolling a yard wide of the far post to the Mariners’ re­lief.

James Mur­ray’s bright start to the sea­son con­tin­ued as he showed pace to win his side an­other flag-kick on the left.

Bai­ley’s de­liv­ery this time saw McMil­lan come off his line but fail­ing to col­lect. The keeper’s blushes were spared as Michael Gro­gan’s header dropped a yard over the Crosender Road bar.

Wire winger Con­nor Hughes then stole a yard on Peter Wylie and ad­vanced into the box to­wards the byline. But rather than cross­ing for Gray, the exWorces­ter man took a tum­ble as Wylie re­cov­ered, ref­eree Lewis Smith rightly wav­ing away Hughes’ ap­peals for a spot­kick but fail­ing to cau­tion the wide man for sim­u­la­tion.

Town’s next view of the target came from a free-kick 25 yards out which Sean Wil­liams curled around the Ma­rine wall but Ben Barnes was well-po­si­tioned to make a rou­tine save.

On the half-hour, left-back Rory McKe­own’s mis­di­rected header al­lowed Mitch­ley to hit a sweetly-struck half-vol­ley from the right side of the area which brought a fly­ing parry from McMil­lan, the Town de­fence able to clear to safety.

An evenly-con­tested open­ing third of the game was punc­tu­ated on 33 min­utes as the lively Dy­lan Vas­sallo forced a cor­ner on the War­ring­ton right. The ball was played deep be­yond the far post for Phil Baker to vol­ley back across the box, set­ting up for­mer Chor­ley striker Josh Hine to side­foot home from six yards.

The Mariners sought to re­spond quickly and were un­for­tu­nate four min­utes later as Mitch­ley held the ball up well be­fore find­ing Bai­ley. The mid­fielder’s curl­ing low ef­fort from 22 yards beat McMil­lan but not the post while Scott Bakkor was un­able to force the re­bound home as a Town de­fender made a vi­tal block on the ball.

The ebb and flow con­tin­ued as Hughes trou­bled the home rear­guard once again, this time main­tain­ing his bal­ance to step in­side a chal­lenge and roll the ball past Barnes as the goal­keeper ad­vanced. How­ever, James Short’s alert de­fend­ing saw him make a timely in­ter­ven­tion as he raced back to clear off the line and pre­vent a sec­ond Town goal.

Three min­utes be­fore the break the Mariners were dealt a blow as an­other poor header in the vis­it­ing de­fence gifted Mitch­ley a shoot­ing op­por­tu­nity, the home skip­per vol­ley­ing high and wide from 25 yards be­fore un­for­tu­nately limp­ing out of the ac­tion to be re­placed by Ge­orge Has­sall.

In first half stop­page time Hine’s trick­ery won his side a cor­ner on their right, the de­liv­ery of which some­how evaded ev­ery­one as it flew across the six-yard box. Ex-Mariner Liam Gould­ing re­trieved the ball be­yond the far post and sent in a cross which Barnes palmed to the edge of the box, Wil­liams’ sweet­lystruck vol­ley fly­ing a yard or two wide of target as War­ring­ton led by the soli­tary goal at the break.

Five min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod the Whites cre­ated a half-chance to level mat­ters as a ball into the Town box saw Billy Smart win an ae­rial chal­lenge, the ball drop­ping for Michael Brewster on the edge of the ‘D’ but the mid­fielder screwed his left-footed shot tamely wide.

The vis­i­tors’ tac­tics were ap­par­ent as they were sat no­tice­ably deeper than in the open­ing pe­riod, invit­ing Ma­rine onto them and look­ing to break quickly. With an­other for­mer Mariner, Paul Car­den, at the helm, the Yel­lows’ plan proved ef­fec­tive and just be­fore the hour a rapid counter-at­tack saw Hughes ad­vance and his well-struck low shot swerve inches wide of Barnes’s left-hand up­right.

On 62 min­utes the vis­i­tors duly dou­bled their ad­van­tage as Hughes was tripped by Barnes as he broke into the Ma­rine area, the goal­keeper be­ing cau­tioned for the foul be­fore Wil­liams slot­ted home the re­sult­ing spot-kick de­spite Barnes guess­ing cor­rectly.

War­ring­ton’s third goal ar­rived six min­utes later through an­other quick counter, a poor pass in mid­field gift­ing the vis­i­tors pos­ses­sion be­fore a ball down the mid­dle al­lowed Hughes to go one-on-one with Barnes, the Town man de­fy­ing grav­ity in fine style to slot home with the min­i­mum of fuss.

The Whites sought a con­so­la­tion as the game en­tered the fi­nal 10 min­utes as Mur­ray, who was his side’s bright­est per­former on the day, took on McKe­own be­fore cut­ting in­side and fir­ing in a daisy-cut­ter from just out­side the box which McMil­lan held se­curely.

How­ever it was Wire who added to their tally with a fourth goal of the af­ter­noon eight min­utes from time. Yet an­other ex-Mariner in the form of sub­sti­tute Joe Mwasile showed his at­tack­ing am­bi­tion and cashed in as he beat Wylie on the left side of the box, the Ma­rine right-back tug­ging Mwasile’s shirt and ref­eree Smith award­ing the sec­ond spot­kick of the con­test. Wil­liams dis­patched the op­por­tu­nity from 12 yards with aplomb, giv­ing Barnes no chance.

Sub­sti­tute James Edgar’s well-struck shot from 25 yards was hoovered up by McMil­lan at the sec­ond at­tempt as time elapsed, War­ring­ton run­ning out wor­thy win­ners to go top of the ta­ble af­ter the first month of ac­tion.

The Mariners now turn their at­ten­tion to the Emi­rates FA Cup as they en­ter­tain Ash­ton United in the first qual­i­fy­ing round at the Ma­rine Travel Arena on Satur­day (kick-off 3pm).

Barnes, Wylie, Short, Hughes, Gro­gan, Smart, Bakkor (Edgar 54), Brewster, Mitch­ley (Has­sall 44), Bai­ley, Mur­ray. Subs (not used): Strick­land, Shaw, Kisimba.

McMil­lan, Gould­ing, McKe­own, Richards, McCarten, Baker, Hine, Wil­liams, Gray (Kin­sella 83), Vas­sallo (Sanogo 78), Hughes (Mwasile 74). Subs (not used): Car­den, Ashcroft.



James Mur­ray (far left) watches his tremen­dous vol­ley (in­set) fly into the Stour­bridge net to help Ma­rine earn a 2-0 vic­tory last Satur­day af­ter­noon – see match re­port be­low.

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