Liverpool Senior Cup Semi-Final - Marine 2 Widnes 1
Tue 13th February 2018 | County Cup Competitions | By Ian Templeman
An own goal 12 minutes from time clinched victory for Marine in the Liverpool Senior Cup semi-final, and ended Widnes's hopes of a first ever appearance in the final.
After going behind early in the second half of the semi-final at the Marine Travel Arena, a Kevin Towey penalty brought Widnes back on level terms, but a deflected free kick clinched victory for the Evo-Stik League side.
It was a harsh way for the tie to be decided, and a disappointing one for Widnes, who came into the tie in fine league form and having beaten Southport 5-1 in the previous round of the competition.
The game began at a high tempo, and Widnes keeper Richie Mottram was tested early on as Marine had two early chances.
In the second minute he had to look sharp to gather a Kenny Strickland effort from a 25 yard free kick, and four minutes later Mottram was in action again, when he made a great full length diving save from a glancing Adam Hughes header.
Widnes hit back, and after Ben Hodkinson dragged a shot just wide, Phil Doran was unlucky with an effort that rattled the crossbar.
With both sides enjoying a share of possession, Doran had another effort saved by Marine keeper Martin Fearon, while at the other end Florian Da Silva fired wide from a good position.
The first half ended with neither side having broken the deadlock, and the tempo picked up again in the second half with Marine's captain Danny Mitchley heading just wide before he finally opened the scoring in the 54th minute.
Liam Tongue was brought down inside the penalty area, and Mitchley made a fine job of despatching the resulting penalty kick past Mottram to put Marine ahead.
The Mariners came close to doubling their advantage three minutes later when Dominic Reid hit the post and then mishit the rebound when the ball fell back into his path, and they were left rueing the missed chance when Widnes drew level.
Once again, it was a goal from the penalty spot with Kevin Towey converting his second penalty of season to set up an exciting last half hour.
The impressive Mitchley came close for Marine once more with a shot that flew just wide as the game moved into the final quarter, and the home side struck what proved to be a fatal blow to Widnes hopes 12 minutes from the end.
A free kick was swung into the penalty area, and Widnes defender Joseph Fielding got the final touch before the ball ended up in the back of the net to seal victory for Marine.