FA Cup dreams do come true – after eighth tier Marine were drawn against Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur in the third round!
The Crosby-based minnows will welcome Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leaders to Rossett Park in what will be one of the biggest days in Marine’s history
The tie is the highlight of the FA Cup third round draw and is also the biggest ever gap between two clubs in the third round.
Tom Clarke, of Marine AFC media team, who has covered the Mariners’ FA Cup journey, was thrilled with the ‘mind-blowing’ draw.
“The thought of Jose Mourinho at the Marine Travel Arena is surreal,” he said.
Elsewhere on Merseyside, Liverpool’s FA Cup journey will start away from home at Villa Park against Aston Villa.
The Reds will look to redeem themselves after their shock 7-2 defeat in the Premier League.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton will face a tricky away tie at Championship strugglers Rotherham, while Tranmere face Championship side Barnsley, after defeating Brackley Town 1-0.
Feelings of elation have overwhelmed Marine AFC supporters and football enthusiasts across Merseyside, after their dramatic success in 2nd round FA Cup game against Havant and Waterlooville.
They scored a last gasp extra-time winner in the 120th minute – and have been duly rewarded.
Despite the game being played behind closed doors, fans still showed their support and celebrated with the players outside the ground after the game.
The visitors, National League South side Havant, were forced to play the whole of extra time a man down after a second yellow card was shown to Anthony Stalker.
While players and fans alike were preparing for the prospect of penalties, captain, Niall Cummins, stayed switched on to score from close range with seconds remaining.
Josh Hmami, 20, who came close to converting with a side-footed shot that hit the post, and a follow-up attempt that went agonizingly over the bar, saw this win as a ‘massive achievement’ for himself and everyone at the club.
Their 2nd round heroics secured them a third-round spot, making them only the second-ever eighth tier team in history to make it this far (Chasetown in 2008).
The former Accrington Stanley player labelled the game a ‘dream come true’ and put their 7th win on the bounce in the competition, down to the ‘togetherness’ of the squad;
‘We are a bunch of young lads with bits of experience in the right places and everybody has a point to prove. If you mix our lad’s ability in with our team spirit and togetherness, we have a very good squad.’
Marine’s creative talent in midfield, who played 104 minutes in the exciting affair, expressed that the club will happily welcome the deserved ‘financial benefits and publicity’ for ‘how well the club is performing.’
Despite their league progress being halted by Coronavirus, a successful season, in Hmami’s eyes, would be ‘achieving promotion in our league and carrying on our cup run.’
Marine joins three other non-league teams in the third round – Stockport County, Chorley, and Boreham Wood.
These non-league clubs will be looking to upset the applecart and reach the heights of Lincoln City in 2017.
The eventual National League winners stunned Premier League outfit Burnley, and became the first non-league side to reach the FA Cup quarter-final since QPR in 1914.
It seems this year’s FA Cup has all the bells and whistles of past competitions.
From December 2, clubs will be happily welcoming fans back into football grounds, which will inevitably offer some more of that FA Cup magic that players and supporters crave so badly.
FA Cup third round ties will be played weekend of January 8-11.
— Marine Football Club (@MarineAFC) November 29, 2020
Josh Hmami interview conducted by Liam Kennedy
Tom Clarke interview conducted by William Rayment