JMU Journalism students swapped the classroom for Rossett Park as they took in an Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division clash between Marine and Nantwich Town.
The hardy souls braved the cold Tuesday night air at the Marine Travel Arena in Crosby to gain vital experience of live match reporting.
The 12 students were tasked with writing a colour piece and story from the game, plus putting together a video package to go with it.
While the in-class practice scenarios helped with style and writing, it could only do so much the prepare the budding journalists for the real world. There were no replays to fall back on, no informative commentary and, perhaps most importantly, no central heating.
Still, the daring dozen – many donning a hat and scarf – succeeded in their tasks on the night.
The game itself was played at a fast pace, with both sets of players noticeably doing their best to keep running and stay warm themselves.
YouTube: Liam Keen
The visitors from Cheshire had the best of the first half, enjoying the lion’s share of possession and having several opportunities to score, but most of their efforts found their way well above the crossbar and into the stand.
But after 20 minutes, Nantwich finally found their opener through Harry Clayton as he dribbled into the box and got a little lucky when the ball bounced kindly for him and he drilled home a right-footed effort from eight yards to make it 1-0.
Marine goalkeeper Martin Fearon should perhaps have done better with the shot having got a big hand to it, but he more than atoned seven minutes later when he was alert and saved brilliantly from a 25-yard piledriver by Sean Cooke.
The home side came out for the second half looking determined, with boss Tommy Lawson changing formation to a 4-3-3 to try and stretch the resilient Nantwich defence.
With the introduction of Dominic Reid in the 60th minute, this tactical gamble paid off when his marauding run into the box forced a corner, and Josh Amis rose highest to nod home the equaliser.
Lawson was delighted with the impact of the substitute, telling JMU Journalism afterwards: “We know he’s going to be a star, we’ve got great hopes for Dom going forward. He excites me more than most, and people like Dom really are the future of the club.”
Both sides had chances in the closing stages as the game turned into a frantic end-to-end affair, but neither could snatch a winner and had to settle for the same scoreline as when they met last September.
Next up for Marine is another home tie against Buxton, while for the JMU Journalism crowd it’s back to focussing on their studies, though this time with invaluable experience of live match reporting under their belts.
— Richard Cross (@richardcross7) March 27, 2018
— DavidJosephWalton (@DavidJosephWal4) March 27, 2018
— Ste Carson (@sjrcarson) March 27, 2018
YouTube: Steven Carson