Carlos Vinicius played the role of party pooper as his first half hat-trick ended Marine's hopes of achieving what would have been the greatest of FA Cup giant killings against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. A 5-0 defeat was an accurate reflection of what was the greatest gulf between third-round opponents in the history of the FA Cup as the fourth-best team in England picked up a convincing win over a side that currently lie sixth in Northern Premier League Division One North West, the eighth tier of English football.
For a team like Tottenham, whose 60,000-capacity stadium is among the most modern in world sport, Rossett Park must have made for quite the culture shock. In a third round played out behind closed doors Spurs and Marine did have an audience, as the residents of Rossett Road teemed into their back gardens to see nine internationals take on a side who had fought through seven rounds to earn the draw of a lifetime.
Marine could take credit for the discipline, energy and organization with which they defended their goal and there was at least a moment where it looked like they might have immortalized themselves. Neil Kengni darted into the Tottenham half and let fly from 35 yards with a shot that swung wickedly in the Merseyside wind, leaving former England international Joe Hart at risk of embarrassment as he opted not to reach towards an effort that crashed back off the crossbar.
Moments later Marine were brought crashing down to earth as another one time regular for the Three Lions, Dele Alli, started to bend the contest to his will. In six minutes he laid two on a plate for Vinicius, a give-and-go with Gedson Fernandes taking him into the box to square for the Benfica loanee, who then hammered home the rebound after Matt Doherty's volley was well-saved at close range by Bayleigh Passant.
Vinicius would earn the match ball before the half was out with a smart side-footed finish that followed a curling free-kick by Lucas Moura. At half-time the tie was over, all that remained to be decided was how many Spurs wanted. They certainly deployed many a quality substitute, four-time winner Gareth Bale taking the field in front of No. 23 Rossett Road.
For all the quality Jose Mourinho unleashed from the outset and his substitutes' bench, it was Tottenham's youngest ever player who found the net in the second half as Alfie Devine smartly beat two defenders before hammering in a shot at the near post. It was not the slice of history most neutrals had been hoping for before kick-off but it at least ensured that Spurs' visit to Crosby will live in their history books for some time yet to come.