MARINE consolidated their top three position with a 3-0 win on Saturday, goals from Jon Goulding, Nick Rogan (penalty) and Will Jones sinking Witton Albion at the Arriva Stadium.
Third v fourth was the billing in this clash so this may well prove to be a vital three points come the end of the season, and the Crosby side deserved to take them on the day with a solid team display after weeks of weather induced inactivity.
Paul Lundon – soon to depart with a dislocated elbow – had an early effort from the left which dropped on to the roof of the net, but Marine were in the lead with nine minutes on the watch from Will Jones’ cross, Goulding beating a hesitant Stuart Plant to the ball to guide a header in to the corner.
Joe Shaw couldn’t get any real power or direction on his overhead kick in Witton’s first real attack, Marine responding with Lundon doing very well to get a cross in from the right with Jones scuffing his shot from point blank range, to allow Plant to make the block with the rebound cleared off the line.
Albion had the ball in the net through former Chorley striker Steve Foster, but the assistant’s flag was raised for offside ruling out the effort.
The closest the visitors came to levelling before half time came from a couple of free kicks, Josh Hancock extending Ryan McMahon to palm shots from the left over the bar.
Former Marine favourite Shaun Tuck’s mazy run in to the area was finally halted by Goulding before Rogan exchanged passes with Jones, the home debutant racing through and getting his shot on target to bring a fine save from the advancing Plant.
The Whites were awarded a penalty after 74 minutes, a good move putting Michael Ordish free before being unceremoniously poleaxed by Anthony Sheehan, Rogan remaining calm to step up and stroke home goal number 16 of the season from the spot, to put the Mariners firmly in control.
Rogan might have made it three straight away, going through on goal before being stopped by a great tackle from the impressive Ben Harrison.
Foster came near to reducing the deficit after finding space in the area to shoot, the ball beating McMahon but being cleared off the line by John Shaw.
It was all over in the last minute as Marine added a third goal, substitute Liam Rice breaking in to the box and firing in a strong drive which Plant parried, only for Jones to pot the rebound by scoring with a looping header which the young keeper couldn’t quite keep out.
Marine: Ryan McMahon (Cap), Shaun Dowling, John Shaw, Matty Brown, Danny Grannon, Robbie Lawton, Karl Noon (Liam Rice 66), Jonathan Goulding, Will Jones, Nick Rogan, Paul Lundon (Michael Ordish 29. Unused subs: Matty Devine, Paul Jones, Alan Burton. Cautions: Dowling, Brown.
Witton Albion: Stuart Plant, Anthony Gardner, Mathew Wood, Ben Harrison, Danny Meadowcroft, Anthony Sheehan (Cap), Josh Hancock, Olly James (Mike Moseley 83), Joe Shaw (Shaun Tuck 61), Steve Foster, Danny Andrews. Unused subs: Josh Glover, Paul Booth. Cautions: Sheehan, Foster.
Referee: Mr. Richard Bartlett (Sale). Assistants Mr. Joe Perselli (Urmston), Mr. Michael Johnson (Denton).
Marine’s game at AFC Fylde on Tuesday night was a victim of the weather and will now be played tonight (Thursday)