Match Report from Pete Crockett
It is always disappointing to get knocked out in your first FA cup tie of the season. However, for Cribbs FC the emotions were very different as they secured their best ever run in this competition. Their victory was built upon the back of a disciplined defensive performance.
In the early stages of the match the home side had an abundance of possession and twice went close. The first was when a slick passing movement saw a back post cross from the right flank reach Ryan Campbell. The angle was tight and stretching to reach the ball the Marine number 11’s shot cleared the bar.
Marine went close a second time when a Levi Irving header bounced agonisingly off the top of the cross bar. Marine were looking dangerous both in open play and from corner kicks. The home support will have felt the goal was coming. However, when on top you have to punish your opponents and Marine failed to do this and were caught by the proverbial “sucker punch”.
Against the run of play Cribbs took the lead when in the 22nd minute a penalty kick was awarded after the visitor’s Jake Brown tumbled in the box following what seemed, to many, an innocuous challenge. However, the referee was very well positioned and deemed it an offence worthy of a penalty.
The spot kick was calmly converted by Steve Murray. The mood of the home support was certainly not assisted by a widely shared frustration that what appeared a clear offside in the build-up did not see a flag raised by an assistant who seemed well short of being in the appropriate position to make the call.
Just minutes before half time Marine came close to securing an equaliser. A cross into the box bounced off a home team defender’s head. The ball looped towards Marine’s Levi Irving whose well struck volley slid just past the far post.
In the early stages of the second half Marine were being made to work hard to break down a resilient double bank of defenders. The visitor’s admirable industry forced Marine to play much of their football in front of them. That said in the 57th minute Levi Irving fired a shot just over the crossbar having done well to create himself a yard of space.
Around the hour mark Lee Spalding bought on Ed Williams to play between the two defensive lines. Within minutes of his arrival George Dowling threaded a pass into his feet and the substitute, twelve yards from goal, took one touch and then deftly slid the ball inside the far post to level things up.
Minutes later the visitor’s, on a rare counter attack, went close to restoring their lead when a thunderous David Duru shot from thirty yards thumped the cross bar and bounced clear. The visitor’s victory was secured in the 77th minute when David Duru ran onto Jacob Hodgson’s flick. He advanced into the box and calmly lashed his shot into the back of the net.
In the closing stages Marine applied plenty of pressure but struggled to create any clear openings. At the final whistle the extremes of the euphoria and despair of football were very much on display. The Cribbs players joyously celebrated their success whilst Marine’s players and management looked crestfallen.
The aftermath of the match saw Lee Spalding’s tenure as manager of the club come to an end. It was a desperately sad moment for all concerned. He leaves with a management record he has every reason to be proud of. In his 190 league games in charge of the club he secured promotion to the Southern Premier League in 2017/18 and in 2022/23 led the club to their best ever league finish.
His points per game record was a laudable 1.55 and his win ratio a very positive 44.7%. His team also twice won the Wiltshire Premier Shield and they might well have had a hat-trick of successes but for Covid leading to the 2019/20 final being cancelled. All at Marine are grateful for the pleasure his teams have bought us and wish him well for the future.
Manager: Lee Spalding
Colours: Blue & White Hoops
Line-up: 1. Louis Evans 2. Sam Turl 3. Liban Ibrahim 4. Jamie Edge (c) 5. Malik Sesay (12. Jake Andrews 80’) 6. Mat Liddiard 7. Henry Spalding 8. George Dowling 9. Levi Irving (14. Ed Williams 52’) 10. Zack Kotwica 11. Ryan Campbell
Subs not used: 13. Charlie Searle
Goalscorers: Ed Williams 57’
Mat Liddiard 21’, Liban Ibrahim 51’, Malik Sesay 78’
Manager: Richard Luffman
Colours: Red & Black
Line-up: 1. Rob Brown 2. Sonny Harnet-Balkwill 3. Matt Spiller 4. Joah Hall 5. Ryan Couch (c) 6. Ross McErlain 7. George Kellow (18. David Duru 62’) 8. Matt Hurley 9. Jake Brown 10. Steve Murray (17. Aysa Corrick 54’) 11. Ryan Cainey (15. Jack Hodgson 68’)
Subs not used: 12. Reece Hedges, 14. Loui Wad, 16. Baily Croome, 19. Aaron Ward-Baptiste
Goalscorers: Steve Murray 23’pen, David Duru 79’
Ryan Cainey 55’, Rob Brown 57’, Jake Brown 74’
Click here for match photo’s
Courtesy of Alex White Photography
Click here for match photo’s
Courtesy of Rob Mashford Photography
Referee: Jake Wolley
Assistant Referees: Rebecca Halford, Roger Smith
Match Officials Coach: Brendan Malone