Brazilian magic in Crosby sees a fantastic FA Cup run by Northern Premier League North West Side Marine come to an end against Premier League Tottenham.
The third round of the FA Cup is the dream for lower league clubs to reach, with the hope of playing against one of the best in the country.
When Robbie Savage drew the ‘39’ ball out of the pot alongside the number ’58,’ social media went into a frenzy.
MOURINHO AT MARINE! #COYM
— Marine Football Club (@MarineAFC) November 30, 2020
This was to be the biggest gap between two clubs in FA Cup history, with 161 positions between the teams – a tie between Marine AFC and Tottenham Hotspur.
Neil Young versus Jose Mourinho.
The Merseyside club have been unable to play since the announcement of the latest lockdown, with their league being postponed.
Revenue for the club has taken its toll and this huge cup tie has been lifesaving.
The club decided to raise funds another way by selling virtual tickets for £10, and each purchase being entered into a raffle.
Just before kick-off, it was announced that the club sold 20,000 virtual tickets, doubling their expected revenue for this fixture.
Despite the extraordinary differences between both clubs, Marine continued to keep their dream alive and set out beating Tottenham.
Young decided on a 5-3-2 formation for the home side, with former Liverpool player David Raven starting at the back.
His only appearance for the Anfield club being against Spurs in 2004.
Mourinho decided on a strong team, making nine changes to the XI that sealed a place in the Carabao Cup final.
18-year-old Harvey White was named in the starting line-up for the first time, after scoring three goals and assisting seven for the Under 23s so far this season.
— Marine Football Club (@MarineAFC) January 10, 2021
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 10, 2021
The game began with an immense atmosphere, fans in back gardens surrounding the stadium, blowing air horns, and cheering on their team.
Immediately Tottenham asserted their dominance, passing the ball from either side, growing confidence on a pitch that was not quite what they were used to.
An early chance for Dele was very tame and caught easily by goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant, which would have calmed his nerves.
Despite early possession, Marine held their own in the first 15 minutes, and Mourinho’s men had nothing to show for their domination.
Just before the 20-minute mark, pacey forward Neil Kengni, broke past the Spurs midfield and found himself 35-yards away from goal with no option other than shooting.
And what a strike it was.
His left footed effort, caught Joe Hart by surprise and rattled the crossbar, looping up into the air and needing a tap over by the goalkeeper to prevent it falling into the net.
An almost fairy-tale start for the non-league club.
This early scare seemed to kick Tottenham into a different gear.
In the 23rd minute, Dele Alli picked up the ball on the left-hand side of the Marine box, and worked his way over to the right, whipping in a low ball to Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius.
Although he fumbled his first attempt at the goal, the ball rolled kindly and Vinicius fired into an empty net from point-blank range.
Seven minutes later, Dele was instrumental again.
This time from the left-hand side of the box.
His clipped in cross found Matt Doherty, who volleyed it towards Passant in goal.
Initially making a superb save, unfortunately for the goalkeeper, Vinicius was there once again, to tap in the rebound, scoring his second of the game.
Tottenham were beginning to find their groove in the game, just two minutes later, they were given another opportunity.
Lucas Moura wriggled his way past the Marine players and earned a free-kick on the edge of the area.
Referee Michael Oliver blew the whistle, and Lucas curled a fantastic shot into the top-left corner, making it 3-0 to the away side.
The home side were struggling, and the team from North London continued to pressure the defence, in the 37th minute, Benfica loanee Vinicius, intercepted the ball in the Marine box, and it kindly flicked up to him.
He carefully side footed a volley into the same corner his international compatriot did just five minutes prior and earned his first hat-trick for Tottenham – making it 4-0 to the Premier League outfit, unravelling the Mariners all within the space of 10 minutes.
𝗛𝗔𝗟𝗙-𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘 ⏱️ A Vinicius hat-trick and a fine free-kick from @LucasMoura7 see us lead at the break.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 10, 2021
With the hope of an upset all but lost for Neil Young’s side, the second half was about keeping optimistic and enjoying the opportunity to play against one of the best teams in Europe.
For Spurs, the interval saw their Portuguese manager make two changes, as Japhet Tanganga and debutant Alfie Devine replace regular first team players Toby Alderweireld and Moussa Sissoko.
5 minutes into the half, striker and PE teacher Niall Cummins flicked the ball towards Josh Hmami, who similarly to Kengni in the first half, had a shot from range.
This time though, Joe Hart comfortably saved the tame shot which rolled into his hands.
The away side continued to dominate possession and were comfortable with the ball.
In the 60th minute, 16-year-old Devine picked up the ball on the edge of the area for Spurs.
He cut inside onto his right foot and fired the ball towards the near-post, beating the goalkeeper and making it 5-0.
The young lad from Warrington had just become the youngest scorer in Tottenham Hotspur’s 129-year history.
A momentous occasion for the midfielder, who was born in 2004.
With the game settled, the team from Merseyside did not let their heads drop and saw out the game with class – defending well against the likes of Vinicius, Dele and Gareth Bale.
The game ended and the Premier League giants can travel back south knowing their pride is still intact, avoiding humiliation 8th tier opponents.
For Marine, it was a fantastic run into the third round, and they should be proud of the journey they had.
A game against Tottenham Hotspur is magnificent and something the players will surely cherish for the rest of their lives.
Jose Mourinho’s side are set to face Aston Villa on Wednesday and are hoping that the game will not be postponed, due to Villa’s Coronavirus issues.
A win would see them go within one point of league leaders Liverpool.
Match Report by Nathan Salmon