Last time we won 5–0 away and followed it up with a trip to Merseyside, things weren't good. At all. Yes, that trip to Prescot.
Action images from our 1–0 loss at Prescot.
The turn around from one result a year ago has been pretty nice! After kick-off I wasn't too sure when some good closing down from Hogan, Bower and the crew stifled a couple of Marine attacks, but our first opportunity arrived with a goal when Holland was left clear through. Dean managed to hammer one in without much difficulty a few minutes later following two defenders in a row deciding to tumble over, and the score was 2–0 to us!
Marine had a band with them. A military drummer and trumpeter helped carry a few of their own chants and it worked out very impressively, definitely the best work on chants I've heard right there. By now however, they were silenced for most of the rest of the match as our fans goaded them in return and kept on singing, a few people at a time, for a good fraction of the match. Their talents weren't well-proven on such a special occasion, but our players' talents probably were, as I've heard commotion about a few scouts turning up. They can look with their eyes and not with their hands.
As the rain started to come down on the unsheltered stand behind the opposite goal where we were segregated we took cover in the long, thin touchline stand despite rain falling through where the floodlights poked out, which was the only space I could really find. Not much was missed and even though the game flowed, the hunger vanished and Town shirts kept Marine at bay whilst getting very muddy for the rest of the first half.
And for the second half, late revenge. Around 18 years to the day we came here in the First Round of the FA Cup only to score once, that one being after Marine had slotted four past us. Around 750 Shaymen saw one of our biggest cup humiliations of all-time and this is what the match day had infamy for. Film star James Dean got taken down by pop star Michael Jackson just inside the penalty area, and so with 15 minutes elapsed in the second half, Baker showed why he was our #1 penalty-taker yet again. With every man's cameraphone on display, he netted it into the corner just beyond Ryan McMahon's grip.
We benefited from an extremely disinterested Marine side with our clinicism towards the end, as the final three goals came in. Jamie Vardy (mazy runs are his first language in footy) took over as a Marine defender slipped on the now trench-like pitch, and quickly doubled his tally. A few minutes later yet again, now towards the end of the match, Vardy lobbed the 'keeper but it was too weak—Deano tapped it in from the open goal. Scars were, by then, almost healed. On any other day we'd be going "We could've had five or six." This week we did get six. Several minutes were left to be played, and the drummer and trumpeter were among the first Mariners to leave.
The ground itself is one of the most interesting ones I've seen, though not the best for viewing the game to say the least. In a police state-like decision from the council, the match had a heavy police presence for 400+ Shaymen and 300+ Mariners. We were then segregated, with the Mariners getting the pretty impressive main seated stand and everything on that side, leaving us to the touchline stand and the standing area behind the goal. The two man deep stand was at level with the pitch and action was often obscured by the standing area behind the goal by the nets, meaning I was striding restlessly here and there to get a good view of our attacks in the first half. Not too good for the downpour either, but it's the result that counts, innit. An old brick wall separates the touchline from the houses parallel on one side, and on the other the street and pitch are separated by a fence. Marine have finished off in this league being a "promoted team" before but haven't been able to go up due to ground grading. Though their ground is as built up as it can possibly be, the space the plot is on means this really isn't much. Just like Fratton Park or Highbury except humbler. Not the best if you want to watch a football game, but it has a hell of a lot of charm.
6–0 makes this one of our greatest wins in our reincarnation, equalling 7–1 against Salford City in 08/09, and a tasty 6–0 at Brandon United Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. I'd say it's the most unlikely six-goal margin we've earnt too. Superb!
Marine 0 – 6 Halifax Town; att. 726
Ground: 9/10 for character, 3/10 for viewingPitch: 6/10 (started to deteriorate)
Talent: couldn't see from where I stood
Non-partisan entertainment: 8/10