On-loan Marine attacker Jack Dunn says it was a “great feeling” to score the winning goal in the playoff final against Runcorn Linnets.
The 27-year-old capped his loan spell with the Mariners by scoring the all-important second goal to secure their comeback win on Saturday.
For the playmaker, the method of his winning goal was a rare one after nodding in at the near post from Lewis Reilly’s corner. Neil Kengni also found the back of the net as he cancelled out Ryan Brooke’s first-half header.
Dunn was one of three late arrivals, with Luke Clark and Kielen Adams, to the Marine Travel Arena as the former Liverpool academy graduate arrived on loan from National League North outfit Curzon Ashton.
“When I signed at Curzon, got off to a really good start and was enjoying my football again. It come towards Christmas time with the manager changing things, I wasn’t getting the game time I wanted so sat down and spoke with the manager and said I’d like to go out and continue playing,” Dunn explained the decision behind his move to Off The Park.
“For me, it’d been one of the most successful periods injury-wise, I was playing a lot of football and staying on the pitch. So went back to the drawing board with my agent after getting the go ahead to go on loan and Alan Morgan, the assistant I’d knew him through Tranmere, he reached out, spoke to me about it.
“Knowing Marine, how well they were doing this season I thought it’d be good for me to get playing and see what I could do to help them and get them over that line.
“Going into it with a new set of lads so late on in the season, I just wanted to do my best and settle in as quick as I could and show the lads and the gaffer my qualities and what I could bring, maybe something different because I think they went through sort of a little spell through Christmas where they had their dip in form.
“They were doing really well at the start then they hit a wall with a few injuries over the Christmas period so coming into that group, I wanted to show my quality, bring something fresh to the team and hopefully get them some results which obviously with the way it finished, I thought I did.”
His winning goal against Linnets was his third of the season for the Mariners after scoring a wondergoal against Glossop North End to open his account before netting a consolation against Leek Town.
“Not really no (scored many headers), most of the time I’m taking the corners so it was sort of a different one. Through the playoffs, we did it difficult, going to Workington on a Tuesday and showing the character that we did, going from behind twice and sticking it out till the end.
“So playing 120 minutes on the Tuesday, obviously legs were quite heavy going into the Saturday, we looked after our bodies as much as we could to recover which I think showed in the first 10 minutes of the final – we went behind early and couldn’t find our feet in the game.
“Going into the second half especially, I thought we were growing in confidence, growing stronger and the substitutes were vital for that because it gave us that little bit towards the end. I think I took the corner before the one I scored and it went straight out of play.
“On the second time, Lewis Reilly crossed it, he said go and stand on the ‘keeper, I’ve walked in towards and seen Owen Watkinson already so I thought I’d stand on the front post to see if anyone marks me, no one marked me and Lew’s put the perfect ball in and just, you know, headed it in really.
“It felt like relief because we knew how good of a team we were, going behind and putting in that much effort especially with the Tuesday – we put a lot into it, it was very difficult to recover because in an ideal world we didn’t really want to go to extra time but that’s how it went – so it was more relief. We showed our quality and going behind early on was a kick in the teeth because it didn’t go the way we were planning it.
“Neil Kengni’s header sort of spurred us on and we got that second wind towards the end and then soon as the ball went in it was relief. The fans that were there it was right in front of them, it was such a good feeling, especially for them.”
With Dunn set to return to Greater Manchester ahead of the next season, he remained coy on whether he would make the switch to Marine but admitted he would discuss it with manager Neil Young and assistant Alan Morgan.
He added: “Winding down towards the end of the season finishing it on a personal high, it was a season as far as I remember where I stayed injury-free. Obviously ending it and getting promoted that was another high so all I’m focused on is enjoying the next week or two to wind down away from football watch the Reds do the quadruple hopefully.
“Once everything settles and we’ve celebrated this season because I don’t think we should look past it especially Marine, enjoy the moment and what’s happened.
“Then in a couple of weeks I will sit down with my agent and we’ll go over something for sure I’ll be speak with Neil and Morgs to see again for possibilities for next season, for the couple of months I was there I really enjoyed it so who knows what’ll happen in the next couple of months.”
[Featured image: Karl Dunkerley]