MATCH REPORT | Marine 2-2 Southport AET, Marine Win On Pens – FA Youth Cup

MATCH REPORT | Marine 2-2 Southport AET, Marine Win On Pens – FA Youth Cup

An evening that promised so much could not have ended in a crueller form of heartache for Southport.

If the FA Youth Cup is about giving youngsters the opportunity to shine, then the Sandgrounders will look back on this preliminary round tie with a genuine sense of achievement despite seeing their hopes ended with such a painful exit.

After an absorbing 120 minutes of football came the anguish of a penalty shoot-out defeat for David Brooks’ team, who had given a superb account of themselves on their big night but fell just short.

There was plenty to admire about how Southport approached this occasion and, on another evening, their good football and sense of enterprise would no doubt have reaped reward.

Ellis O’Keefe and Charlie Allen twice put the Sandgrounders in front before Marine equalised and both were heavily involved in the bright attacking play which was such an impressive aspect of the visitors’ performance.

Wes Owens already has three goals to his name this season and he caused all manner of problems as part of a midfield three, while no players caught the eye more than the two wing-backs, Charlie Tannant and Dylan Dunne, who both thrived on the chance to push forward and build attacks from wide.

O’Keefe gives Southport an early lead

In that respect, the finish could not have been harsher, as Tannant saw his penalty saved by goalkeeper Ben Clarke after the shoot-out had reached sudden death, allowing Henry Latimer to send home the deciding penalty. The visiting players, however, left with their heads held high.

Players began to go down with cramp as the end of normal time approached and that was a reflection of the commitment levels from both teams in a match that ebbed and flowed, producing chances at both ends.

Despite their heavy legs, the will to win never ceased, and the tie remained on a knife-edge until the very end.

It was O’Keefe who put Southport ahead on 13 minutes, turning home Dunne’s free-kick from deep.

The goal gave the visitors a platform to showcase their smart football, highlighted by a flowing move which saw Allen link with O’Keefe, who then released Dunne, veering in from the left, and his angled shot flashed narrowly wide.

Allen scores Southport’s second goal

Yet Marine had already threatened through Rustam Stepans and they drew level midway through the half, Drew Kirman scoring with a good strike from 20 yards after meeting a clearance from defence.

Having collected the ball on the Southport right, Owens displayed his individual skill as he made his way into a central position before shooting wide, and the visitors restored their lead three minutes after the interval as Allen converted a left-wing free-kick from Adam Forrest.

The fact that the lead only lasted for six minutes, however, summed up the open nature of the game, Luke Heaton-Robertson equalising with an angled finish from inside the area.

Chances followed in regular time for O’Keefe, Allen, Tannant and Josh Brooks, and the end-to-end action continued in the additional 30 minutes, as Kirman sent a header wide, while Southport goalkeeper Joe McDonnell saved well from Stepans.

Southport finished extra time strongly and it is a shame on these occasions that one team has to lose. After both sides had failed to score their first penalty of the shoot-out, goalkeeper Clarke made the vital save before Latimer secured Marine’s progress.

An important aspect of an occasion like this is about giving youngsters the experience needed in their development and the Southport players will certainly be better for it.


Marine: Ben Clarke, Ryan Hall, Steven Walsh, Drew Kirman, Liam Heaton-Robertson, Jack Robinson, Lewis Askew, Joe Devine, Rustam Stepans, Anthony Walsh, Callum Langton.
Subs: Matthew Meechan, James Lawson, Reece Timmins, Henry Latimer, Patrick Turner.

Southport: Joe McDonnell, Charlie Tannant, Dylan Dunne, Brad Elms, Adam Forrest, Sam Bennet, Josh Brooks, Matt Morgan, Charlie Allen, Ellis O’Keefe, Wes Owens.
Subs: Adam Hurst, Dan McCreith, Connor Farrell, Jack Carberry-Fearns, Dylan Fairfield.

Attendance: 153

Referee: Alex Owen

Report by Alan Jones

Photos by Julia Urwin

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