There was no shock to end all shocks – really, how could there be? – but the surrealism of Tottenham visiting Marine in the third round of the FA Cup was not erased by a straightforward away win. As Gareth Bale sprayed passes around Rossett Park, José Mourinho sat on a chair with the garden of 19 Rossett Road behind him and a cardboard cut-out of Jürgen Klopp a few yards over his right shoulder. “Three Lions” blared out from the back of 11 Rossett Road while Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer threw a few shapes on the makeshift TV gantry nearby.
A magnificent cup run is over for the only the second team from the eighth tier of English football to reach round three, although its impact will be lasting. Marine launched a virtual ticket appeal to make up for the £100,000 in commercial revenue that stood to be lost by the game behind moved behind closed doors. By the time the final whistle blew on Spurs’ professional victory over 30,000 tickets had been sold and over £300,000 raised. With their league suspended until at least 6 March the non-league club from Crosby need every penny they can get. Their players adapted to the biggest test of their lives admirably, holding their own for 23 minutes until Carlos Vinícius scored the first goal of his hat-trick. Alfie Devine came off the bench for Spurs at half-time and straight into the record books as the club’s youngest ever goalscorer when he added the fifth.