Superb opening half display and great defence lifts Lawson’s men
Stourbridge 0 Marine 2 MARINE produced a stunning first half display in the West Midlands on Saturday afternoon to claim all three league points.
Riding the wave from their midweek win over Stalybridge, the Mariners picked up from where they left off and dominated Stourbridge, who are one of the favourites to win the title.
It was indicative of how well they played against Stalybridge that Marine boss Tommy Lawson decided to name a completely unchanged starting XI at the War Memorial Ground.
From the start Marine went hunting for goals with Vinny Bailey bundling home after the keeper spilt Danny Mitchley’s shot after just two minutes.
Last season Stourbridge had beaten Marine in this contest, but there seemed no chance of a repeat this time around. Across the field the Mariners impressed with Mitchley, Bailey, Scott Bakkor and James Murray sailing forward at every opportunity as the defence soaked up some Stourbridge pressure.
Murray had a great chance to extend the lead on 20 minutes as the ball came in from the right but he blasted his effort over.
Marine keeper Ben Barnes was called into action from a Stourbridge diving header but very little was getting past Michael Grogan and Adam Hughes at the back.
Mitchley was dictating things from the front and he put two strong efforts over the target in the first half.
Then came a moment of magic from Murray after 38 minutes.
Mitchley’s shot rebounded off a Stourbridge player and Murray rifled in a thunderous volley to put Marine 2-0 up.
The second half began with a scrappy period of play with a couple of chances for both teams to score. Murray looked to add to his goal but was adjudged to be offside after being put through one-on-one with the keeper. Just after the hour Bailey played teammate Mitchley through on goal but his effort was saved.
For the last 20 minutes Stourbridge piled forward but Marine defended bravely and held firm to claim a muchdeserved second away victory of the week. Grogan in particular excelled at centrehalf and alongside Hughes disrupted everything Stourbridge could throw at them. Barnes was rarely tested, testament to Marine’s well-disciplined defence.