Marine’s FA Cup run continues with last night’s 4-1 win over Nantwich Town, demonstrating once again the importance of fans within the ground, as the maximum capacity Marine Travel Arena spurred on the Crosby club to a comfortable win.
397 were officially in attendance, in co-operation with government guidelines, as Marine enters the fourth qualifying round; easily dispatching Nantwich.
The Mariners were unbeaten in cup competitions so far, this season, having overcome Barnoldswick Town, Frickley Athletic and Runcorn Linnets but faced formidable opposition as The Dabbers had remained unbeaten across all competitions; sitting sixth in the Northern Premier League.
Despite being in the league below, Marine started the brighter side. But this was the FA Cup, where form goes out the window even in the competitions initial stages.
An early free kick from Josh Hmami settled any nerves, with the central midfielder dispatching a similar effort from a set-piece four days earlier in the league against Tadcaster Albion. Marine continued to control possession, with the impressive pitch allowing Kevin Lynch’s side to transition through the thirds.
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) October 14, 2020
James Bargain spearheaded an interchangeable midfield three alongside David Raven and Hmami as Marine created several chances but lacked the composure to double their lead.
The second half proved decisive as Nantwich grew into the game. Some controversial refereeing decisions let Sean Cooke in behind the Marine defence as he equalised from close range; beating Bayleigh Passant who had a quiet night until that point.
Kevin Lynch looked to change his system after facing the possibility of extra time, opting for a 4-4-2 with Neil Kengi operating on the wing. He caused havoc to Nantwich’s left back in transition, winning fouls and freeing Salford City loanee Mo Touray to square the ball to Hmami for his brace.
Kengi’s direct running created space for almost every Marine counter attack, with Nantwich talisman Prince Haywood being sent off for the visitors for a second bookable offence – resulting in The Mariners scoring a third from the forthcoming free kick; James Barrigans in- swinging free kick was converted by Anthony Miley who had a free header.
With the full-time whistle approaching, Nantwich committed several players forward and paid the price when Miley grabbed his brace for the night. A well taken corner by Hmami which capped off a brilliant night and a marauding performance from the Marine playmaker.
Referee Jake Topp blew an end to the match which sees another local side qualify to the next round of the FA Cup. Rosset Park showed its appreciation.
Supporters and ground staff must be awarded for their co-operation in following COVID-19 guidelines put in place on the night.
Following further investigation, the Government have made a decision to allow supporters into grounds for the next qualifying round despite the tier three restrictions. Regardless of circumstance, Marine will happily welcome this decision, as it brings more money into the club and allows supporters to follow their team as their long journey to Wembley continues.