By Paddy Allen

A 5-3 penalty shootout victory over Colchester United ensures Marine’s FA Cup journey continues. The U’s are the third football league side the Mariners have beaten in their history.

It’s the first time they’ve ever beaten a football league side away from home.

They started the game solidly. They limited Colchester to having possession in non-dangerous areas. Antony Miley and David Raven also mopped up any long ball that came from deep.

Colchester were forced into an early change on the 18 minute mark. Callum Harriott seemed to pull up under the challenge of Josh Solomon-Davis. He was replaced by Josh Bohui, clutching his hamstring as he trudged off.

Marine took the lead on the 21st minute. Josh Hmami forced a great save from Dean Gerken from a free kick but the rebound fell to Anthony Miley. 

The centre-back made no mistake, putting the ball into an empty net. This was Miley’s fourth goal of the season, his third in the FA Cup.

The substitute Bohui had a good chance to level from a corner. He was unable to head in a second ball due to good defending once again from the Mariners.

Neil Kengi had a glorious chance to double Marine’s lead four minutes before the break. He caught Cohen Brammall in possession and drove towards Gerken’s goal. 

His shot was good but the save was even better. Gerken got down sharply to his left to deny Marine their second.

Despite the first half lacking anything of real quality, Marine lead Colchester heading into the half time interval with Bayleigh Passant not being troubled in the visitors goal.

The second half started as the first ended, Colchester having a lot of the ball but not creating much. Marine were deep, making it hard for the U’s to break them down.

Noah Chivers had the first attempt of the second half. His long range shot fizzed past Passant’s right hand post. The Marine keeper scrambled across his goal to cover his upright.

Colchester levelled the game on 64 minutes. Bayleigh Passant spilled a long range shot though he recovered well to save the rebound attempt. U’s skipper Harry Pell was free on the edge of the box to finish into an open goal to equalise.

The first yellow for a player came in the 70th minute. Despite winning the ball, Anthony Miley picked up a booking for excessive force in a tackle deep in Colchester’s half.

One of Marine’s coaching staff was booked earlier on for dissent.

Since the game went level, Marine looked more likely to break the second deadlock. Mo Touray ran down the left hand side before cutting in, firing well wide of Gerkens left post.

Hmami had a similar chance a few minutes later but again, Gerken wasn’t troubled in the Colchester goal.

The last five minutes were rather frantic. Both sides pushed forward looking to win it in normal time. Neil Kengi forced Gerken into a comfortable save with James Barrigan hitting the rebound well wide.

Sam Allison awarded Colchester a dubious free kick on the edge of the box as the clock ticked over 95 minutes. Paris Cowan-Hall hit the wall. This was the last action of normal time. 

The period of extra time was tentative to say the least. Neither team created anything of note despite Colchester maintaining high levels of possession in the Marine half. 

Colchester nearly scored the winner in the last minute of extra time but the Mariners’ defence managed to scramble the ball away off the line. Penalties were to come.

A number of Marine players were struggling with cramp. This was expected, though. They had put in some shift to get the game to this point.

Marine led 4-3 on penalties until Josh Bohui struck his penalty wide. That left Mikey Howard to win it for Marine. He sent Gerken the wrong way to spark jubilant celebrations from the eighth tier side.

They are ball number 29 in Monday’s second round draw. It’s the first time they’ve been in the hat for this stage of the competition since 1992/93. They were knocked out in the third round by Crewe Alexandra.

Congratulations to all at Marine FC from us at Merseysport Live.