MATTY DEVINE’S first goal for the club gave Marine victory at the Arriva Stadium on Saturday, his 25th minute strike being enough to beat Grantham Town.
This was a tense affair with the clearer scoring chances falling to the Mariners, the Gingerbreads not managing to force home goalkeeper Ryan McMahon into a save all afternoon, even with a man advantage after Matty Brown’s 55th minute dismissal.
Rhys Lewis might have done better in the opening exchanges after getting to the goal line, his delivery in to the box being cleared by the Marine defence.
Then James Lindley pulled off a fine stop with his legs from Matty Brown’s header.
A free-kick deep in Marine territory led to the only goal of the game, Liam Rice freeing Devine to capitalise on hesitation in the visiting defence to slide the ball past Lindley from the left hand side of the area.
The young striker might have doubled his tally shortly afterwards, this time latching on to Matty Brown’s pass but Lindley advanced off his line to block the shot.
Full back Sam Purcicoe put in a good cross to the far post for the Gingerbreads, fellow full back Lee Potts arriving at the back post but planting his header wide, to miss arguably their best chance of the match.
Potts – at the centre of much of Grantham’s best play – got in to the box at the start of the second half, but couldn’t find the target with his rising drive going over the top.
Devine was stopped by unfair means wide on the right and Danny Grannon put the ball narrowly wide of the post from the free-kick.
Then came a potential turning point – Paul Grimes got away from the defence before being clipped by Brown, the referee having no hesitation in brandishing the red card.
The game opened up for a spell, Damian Magee firing over from a good position for Town before Marine substitute Alan Burton fizzed a volley wide from just outside the box.
Grimes burst through but again was unable to find the target, before Marine should have added a second goal, Devine rounding the keeper from a tight angle with his cross going behind Burton. Rice collected the clearance to cross to the far post for Jon Goulding to head wide with the goal gaping.
Grantham huffed and puffed but even with five added minutes were unable to breach a resolute home defence.
MARINE: Ryan McMahon (Cap), Shaun Dowling, Paul Lundon, Matty Brown, Danny Grannon, Paul Jones, Paul Brown (Alan Burton 61), Jonathan Goulding, Matty Devine (Andy Fowler 74), Nick Rogan, Liam Rice (Robbie Lawton 87). Unused subs: Liam Dawson, Callum Williams (G/K). Cautions: Dowling. Sent off: M. Brown.