Thursday, March 01, 2012

Marine’s play-off hopes dealt a blow as FC United of Manchester win 2-1 at packed-out Arriva Stadium

 Source: Crosby Herald

 MARINE’S quest to book a play-off berth in the Evo-Stik League’s Northern Premier Division was dealt a blow last Saturday as great rivals FC United of Manchester came from a goal down to grab all three points with a late winner.

It had all started so well for the Mariners at a packed-out Arriva Stadium – some 1,111 fans on hand for the clash.

The hosts gradually took charge of the first-half with a confident display.

The breakthrough came after 27 minutes when Marine’s Robbie Lawton flighted a free-kick from near the halfway line finding Jonathan Goulding with time and space to deftly control the ball before lashing home beyond the defenceless keeper James Spencer.

After 40 minutes, United skipper Kyle Jacobs overlapped again down the right before crossing to Adam Jones whose header went narrowly wide.

This combination would ultimately cause Marine’s downfall.

Marine’s central defenders, John Shaw and Sam Barnes, were so dominant in the first-half that despite FC United’s attractive passing game, their attacks carried as much bite as a spinach-less Popeye without his dentures.

The heavy reliance on the talented Carlos Roca to take all corners and free-kicks was proving ineffective whereas Marine seemed more fluent and created better chances.

However, this was all to change in the second-half.

United improved their service to striker Mike Norton and in the 53rd minute, immediately after a penalty appeal was denied, Norton picked himself up to deliver a deliciously-weighted, defence-splitting pass to Matthew Wolfenden who stroked the ball home with aplomb.

The goal galvanised United and forced Marine into a more defensive approach. Norton fired over from the edge of the area before Goulding responded for Marine with a volley from Ian Latham’s cross.

On 68 minutes United came close as Jake Cottrell and ex-Mariner Stephen Johnson combined well down the left forcing a corner which was subsequently cleared off the line by substitute Liam Dawson.

Marine keeper Callum Williams had a momentary lapse of concentration when he came out to punch a floated free-kick but found his penalty area more crowded than the London Underground during peak – the danger ultimately being cleared.

Barely a minute from time when it seemed both teams would happily settle for a point apiece, a Jacobs free-kick from the right found the unmarked Adam Jones who headed home from close range to seal a hard-earned win for the visitors.

Marine: Callum Williams, Joe Fowler, Louis Barnes, John Shaw, Sam Barnes, Robbie Lawton, Paul Brown (Paul Lundon 65), Jonathan Goulding, Aaron Rey (Thomas Moore 82), Neil Harvey, Ian Latham (Liam Dawson 65). Subs (unused) Darren Byers, Liam Duff

Mar 1 2012 by Our Correspondent, Crosby Herald