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8th Tier Marine FC Draw Premier League Leaders Spurs for FA Cup Third Round

calendario 02.12.2020
by: Zach
  • England
  • Step 3-4
  • Northern - Division One
8th Tier Marine FC Draw Premier League Leaders Spurs for FA Cup Third Round

Marine FC made history on Sunday, November 29th 2020, beating National League side Havant and Waterlooville 1-0 for a place in the FA cup round. The “non-elite” club, who haven’t played a league game since November due to the National lockdown, receive special dispensation to play in the FA cup as long as their run lasts. And oh, has it lasted. The 8th tier side will play their 8th game in the cup run when they host José Mourinho on January 9th 2021. All this despite only playing five league games before the second lockdown.

The draw, apart from generating a spate of Marine/Mourinho puns, raises questions concerning both teams’ cup history. Back at the start of November, when Marine’s Northern Premier League was still going, Marine beat League 2 side Colchester in the FA Cup 3-5 on penalties. Last November in the EFL Cup, Mourinho’s Spurs faced an embarrassing upset when they lost on penalties to the same Colchester team on penalties too. This footballing quirk heaps optimism on an already ecstatic Marine side, following their nailbiting victory over Havant and Waterlooville in the second round of the FA cup.

Spurs may have something to learn about the physical nature of National League football, as in their last clash against Chelsea, they committed a mere 9 fouls. In the neck-and-neck cup tie, Marine FC and Havant and Waterlooville committed over 50 fouls between them. In fact, the Havant and Waterlooville hawks’ captain, Anthony Straker, committed two bookable offences in the game, resulting in his sending off late in the second half. 

The stalemate continued for 120 minutes, thanks in no small part to the hawks’ keeper Ross Worner. At the two hour mark, a heroic flying header in the box from Marine’s captain Niall Cummins saw the ball glance off his back and across the line. Cheers erupted, as did the champagne, as the mariners reached the third round of the FA Cup for the second time in their long history. 

Although they rank a full 41 places below Havant and Waterlooville, Neil Young’s Marine squad dominated the game. With 49 per cent possession, they delivered eight shots on target, to Havant and Waterlooville’s one. Although the mariners’ shotstopper Bayleigh Passant was only troubled once by a shot from the hawks, he had more to celebrate than the save and the victory: the game also marked his 20th birthday.

Fans documented Passant’s jubilation as the keeper celebrated match and birthday with a trip to the local Co-op in full kit to get the drinks in right after the game. 

This cup run has vast implications for Marine on multiple levels. Firstly, it shows the failure of the “elite” and “non-elite” divide to accurately capture the value and potential of individual football clubs. With the lockdown ending imminently, clubs across the non-league hierarchy will be able to get back to business, as safely and successfully as possible.

Secondly, it means a great deal to Crosby, Marine’s local area. In the shadow of Merseyside titans like Liverpool and Everton, part-timers Marine are a perfect example of the hunger and passion that defines non-league. In January, Marine host Mourinho, and the elite sporting institution that is Tottenham Hotspur, to do Crosby proud.
Thirdly, in a time of financial hardship, this incredible cup run provides a vital lifeline for an otherwise hibernating football club. After their victory over Havant and Waterlooville, the mariners made around £60,000 in broadcasting and prize money. This adds a crowning jewel to their already formidable run. Their broadcasting bounty looks set to multiply exponentially when they face their high-flying opponents Spurs next year. 

If they do the unthinkable and shock Mourinho, they will go further than they’ve ever gone before. As unlikely as it is, Marine achieving the unlike is what got them here in the first place. Either way, as non-league, ‘non-elite’ sides go, Marine prove time and time again that they’re a team to watch, so stay tuned.


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