FA Cup: Marine sink sorry Saints in a thriller

Brackley Town's Matt Lowe is foiled by  Marine keeper Martin Fearon and James Short. Photo: James McNulty
Brackley Town's Matt Lowe is foiled by Marine keeper Martin Fearon and James Short. Photo: James McNulty

Marine knocked Brackley Town out of the Emirates FA Cup at a rainy St James Park.

Saints eventually lost 3-2 after three first half goals without reply gave Evo-Stik Northern Premier League outfit Marine a commanding halftime lead in Saturday’s third qualifying round tie. The visitors were clinical and more determined against their National League North hosts.

Marine shocked Saints when on-loan Finlay Sinclair-Smith scored twice after just six and 38 minutes. In between, James Murray doubled Marine’s lead on the half hour mark.

The first goal punished Saints’ sluggish start to the game, 18-year-old Sinclair-Smith finishing neatly. The second goal was the product of poor defending but also excellent close control and accurate shooting by Murray while Sinclair-Smith’s second was another fine finish.

In between Marine’s goals, Saints had chances to level as when Matt Lowe hit the post and then saw keeper Martin Fearon save with his legs. But Saints could not complain about the halftime score-line.

Two goals in four minutes early in the second half from Adam Walker and Lowe got Saints back in the game. Walker fired low into the corner while Lowe found the net through Fearon’s legs.

But the home side were unable to sustain the attacking momentum until late in the game when the Mariners had to defend resolutely. In the dying minutes substitute Daniel Nti’s shot was blocked, Shaun Jeffers fired over and in added-time Nti - at full stretch - could only turn Lowe’s cross over the bar as Marine held out for a deserved win.