MARINERS’ BIG VOYAGE COMES TO BRAVE END
TEN-MAN Marine bowed out of the Trophy but not without a fight as they gave National League high-flyers Dover Athletic an almighty scare in a thriller at Crabble.
Despite being a man light after Billy Smart saw red just before half-time for a reckless challenge on Manny Parry, the Evo-Stik Premier visitors appeared unfazed by the 60 places separating the sides and took the Football League hopefuls all the way.
Two penalties from captain Danny Mitchley and a late Michael Brewster effort ensured the Whites never got out of sight with Parry, Ryan Bird, Mitch Pinnock and Mitch Brundle all finding the net for Chris Kinnear’s men.
“I am very proud of my players as they put a massive shift in to keep getting back into the match,” said Mariners boss Tommy Lawson. “We almost nicked an equaliser at the end there, but they were all heroes out there on the pitch for me.
“We have more than matched them on the day and I am gutted we were unable to get the result we deserved for all those fans that made the long journey.
“The sending off was cruel, but the guys were all immense and did the club proud today.”
It looked like the start of a long afternoon for the 150 travelling fans once Parry helped Kane Richards’ flick into the top corner as early as the sixth minute, but the impressive Mitchley drove in from the penalty spot three minutes later after Whites keeper Mitch Walker fouled James Short in the area.
Giancarlo Gallifuoco saw
an effort cleared away from underneath the visiting crossbar but normal service was resumed when Bird headed in Femi Ilesanmi’s cross to put Dover ahead.
It seemed mission impossible for Lawson’s charges once Smart received his marching orders and their hopes of an upset were further dented shortly after the restart when Pinnock curled a 25yard beauty past the outstretched grasp of Martin Fearon.
To their credit, however, Marine hit back again through dangerman Mitchley who made no mistake from 12 yards after teasing a foul out of Parry in the box.
Brundle looked to have put the game out of sight as he slotted in sub Anthony Jeffrey’s pass, but the away side set up a tense few minutes through Brewster’s clever finish on the turn.
Jeffrey almost confirmed the home side’s place in the last 16 in stoppage time, but stopper Fearon blocked his effort and fellow sub Kadell Daniel was unable to convert the rebound. But the brave Step 3 side where unable to find the leveller needed to set up a Tuesday night replay back in Crosby – much to the noticable relief of Kinnear. “It was not our best performance, but I’m glad we got through to the next round,” the Whites chief said. “A lot of clubs in our division have already gone out to lower league opposition – that’s cup football. “We conceded some sloppy goals and we have just had a good chat in the changing room afterwards. The lads are not happy with themselves, but they are a young side and always learning. “Fair play to Marine. They had a lot of fire in their belly and nothing to lose, but if we go all the way to Wembley then people will have forgotten about this game.” STAR MAN: Mitch Brundle (Dover) ATT: 565 ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★ REFEREE: Chris O’Donnell 7/10
“Marine had a lot of fire in their bellies and had nothing to lose. We are pleased to be through” Chris Kinnear Dover manager “I’ve very proud of my players, they put in a massive shift and are all heroes for me” Tommy Lawson Marine manager
ROCKET MANN! Manny Parry salutes scoring Dover’s first goal
BIG LEAP: Dover’s Ryan Bird rises highest but is off target