Su­perb open­ing half dis­play and great de­fence lifts Law­son’s men

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life -

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.

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