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

PIC­TURE: Matt Bris­tow

ROCKET MANN! Manny Parry salutes scor­ing Dover’s first goal

BIG LEAP: Dover’s Ryan Bird rises high­est but is off tar­get

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