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COMFORT DRAWN IN COMEBACK; EVO-STIK LEAGUE NORTHERN PREMIER: Mariners strike back from two goals in arrears to secure a point.

MARINE 2 ILKESTON FC 2 MARINE and Ilkeston shared four first half goals in an entertaining game at the Marine Travel Arena.

The Mariners started promisingly and dominated the early possession and territory, however it was the visiting Robins who took the lead in the 10th minute.

A neat flick on the edge of the Marine area allowed midfielder Ben Morris to burst into the box before crashing the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards.

Marine skipper Danny Mitchley then sent a shot from the edge of the 'D' tamely wide as the Whites sought an equaliser.

Midway through the half the Mariners found themselves two goals down, as the Crosby side's defence failed to clear their lines.

The bouncing ball fell for Ilkeston's Luis Rose whose volley looked to be heading wide of target before a wicked deflection off Liam Willis gave goalkeeper Cavin Hare little chance as the ball nestled inside his left-hand upright.

Despite the scoreline the Mariners continued to enjoy the majority of possession and visiting goalkeeper Ross Durrant produced an excellent parry to foil Billy Smart's volley.

The Whites pulled a goal back on 27 minutes as a spell of pressure culminated in Warren Bellew's cross to the back post finding Mitchley, who volleyed home from 10 yards with the aid of a slight deflection.

Sean Hessey's side continued to press and found a deserved leveller 10 minutes before the break.

Kurt Sherlock combined with Lewis Field and the Marine right-back's progress to the byline was clumsily halted by Robins defender Jaylon Bather.

Sherlock's well-placed penalty detected the corner of the College Road End net despite Durrant guessing correctly.

Sherlock then spurned a giltedged chance to give the Mariners the lead just two minutes later as a low Bellew ball reached the ex-Stalybridge striker, but he scuffed his shot somewhat and the ball rolled tamely wide of the target.

The second half saw even more goalmouth action than the first, but somehow failed to produce a winning goal for either side.

Bellew forced Durrant to save smartly from his free-kick, before the ball fell to Mitchley who fired high and wide from 25 yards.

James Short's pass forward allowed Mitchley to wriggle into the box and evade the onrushing Durrant. However Mitchley was unable to turn the ball home from a tight angle as it rolled tantalisingly wide of the far post.

Mitchley stung Durrant's palms from 25 yards, before Ilkeston finally punctuated the home side's pressure as Rose's flick was volleyed over the top by Morris.

Young centre-back Adam Hughes then produced a great piece of skill to evade a challenge before striding out of defence and clipping a ball towards Mitchley, the striker just failing to control and Durrant was able to smother at his feet.

Durrant then had to be at his best again to instinctively turn Sherlock's powerful header from a Bellew cross behind, before again denying Sherlock's near-post effort from Field's low cross as the chances came thick and fast.

For all Marine's pressure Ilkeston twice came close to pinching all three points as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

Firstly a corner from the Derbyshire side's right saw penaltyarea pinball ensue, Hare's punch reaching Bather who prodded forward for Baker's goalbound shot to be diverted wide by Short's tremendous last-ditch block.

Bather's far post header then looked destined for the bottom corner of the net, but Hare produced a world-class save to somehow turn the ball past the post.

The overworked Durrant parried from both Mitchley and Sherlock in the closing stages, before a sloppy defensive header allowed Sherlock to race through only to be foiled by Durrant's brave block, the goalkeeper earning his side a share of the spoils in what had proved an absorbing contest.

Marine make the trek to Cumbria to play Workington in a league fixture on Tuesday evening, before they entertain Cambridgeshire outfit St Neots Town next Saturday in the FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round at the Marine Travel Arena. | MARINE: Hare, Field, Short, Willis, Foley, Hughes, Monaghan, Smart, Mitchley, Sherlock, Bellew. Subs: Whyte, Anoruo, O'Hare, Hessey, Lindfield.

| ILKESTON FC: Durrant, Kenworthy, Coleman, Morris, Baker, Bather, Rose, Gordon, Lavelle-Moore, Brown, Goddard. Walters, Gamblin, Clarke, Owen, Dwyer.

| ATTENDANCE: 346

CAPTION(S):

|TUSSLE: Marine striker Kurt Sherlock is out-jumped by Ilkeston FC's Jaylon Bather PICASA

|ON THE RUN: Danny Mitchley advances with the ball for Marine in yesterday's clash with Ilkeston while (inset, below) Kurt Sherlock levels matters from the penalty spot PICASA
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 6, 2016
Words:752
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