MARINE’S rousing late fightback wasn’t enough to secure progress in the Liverpool Senior Cup on Tuesday night, as they went out 5-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw with Southport at the Arriva Stadium.
The Conference side had been good value for their two goal lead but Kevin Lynch’s men fought hard in the second half, Nick Rogan’s well worked 83rd minute goal setting up a grandstand finale with Liam Rice’s fabulous free kick in the 89th sending the tie to spot kicks.
The Mariners had to regroup after losing Andy Fowler and Danny Grannon to injury in the opening 23 minutes, and were two goals behind after just 26 minutes through a John Shaw own goal and Michael Bakare.
The Whites had the best chance of the early exchanges, Rogan turning his man and sending a dangerous cross into the box, the ball falling for Paul Brown to blaze over the top from inside the six yard box.
Port capitalised on the miss and opened the scoring with 13 minutes gone, Steven Tames racing clear to bring a fine save from Callum Williams but lady luck deserting the home side, the rebound cannoning of the unfortunate Shaw and looping in to the empty net.
The second goal arrived just after the midway point of the first half, a deep cross from the left finding Bakare to convert from close range at the far post.
Tames turned provider to free Shaun Whalley, the midfield man’s angled drive being kept out by another smart stop from Williams in the home goal.
Shaun Dowling had a strong run for Marine, advancing to the edge of the box before putting a shot narrowly wide of a post, before Tames brought a routine save from Williams at the other end.
The start of the second half saw Russell Benjamin and Tames fire off target for Port, Rice having a great chance to reduce the arrears from Karl Noon’s cross, shooting over the bar from 12 yards.
Substitute Liam Dawson went very close for Marine with a volley following a corner, the ball clipping the net as it flew just too high.
Marine had looked like they might get a goal during a much more even second half, and it was no real surprise when Rogan pulled one back, Paul Brown’s neat pass putting the ex-Port striker clear in the box to beat Zac Hibbert with relative comfort.
The Whites levelled the tie in sensational fashion as injury time beckoned, Rice stepping up to curl a delightful free kick over the wall past a rooted Hibbert to the delight of the Marine faithful.
Williams had to pull off the save of the match to foil Bakare, the front man’s angled shot looking destined for the bottom corner before the young keeper dived to palm the ball away and ensure penalties ensued.
Sadly the Marine shoot out curse struck again, with Dawson, Rice and Noon successful but Paul Brown seeing his kick saved by Hibbert.
Port chalked a 100 per cent record with their efforts, with Lynch, Whalley, Bakare and Benjamin giving Aaron Chalmers the chance to successfully dispatch the winning kick.
l Marine: Callum Williams, Shaun Dowling, John Shaw, Paul Jones, Danny Grannon (Liam Dawson 23), Robbie Lawton (Cap), Paul Brown, Andy Fowler (Karl Noon 8), Nick Rogan, Michael Ordish (Matty Devine 60). Unused subs: Alan Burton, Phil Brazier. Cautions: None.
l Southport: Zac Hibbert, Aaron Chalmers, Liam Willis, Steven Akrigg, Chris Lynch, Alan Moogan (Cap) (Karl Ledsham 45), Steven Tames (Jamie Campbell 69), Charlie Joyce, Michael Bakare. Unused subs: Chris Almond, Tony McMillan (G/K), Chris Lever. Cautions: Ledsham.
l Referee: Mr. Gordon Johnson; Assistants Mr. Matthew Corlett, Mr. Peter Walker.
l Attendance: 209.