How Marine players reacted to Macclesfield Northern Premier League playoff final win as ‘redemption’ point made

Marine celebrate promotion

Marine equalled their highest-ever league position after securing promotion to the National League North following their 2-1 win over Macclesfield.

Fin Sinclair-Smith opened the scoring in the first-half from the penalty spot before Jack Bainbridge drilled the Mariners into a two-goal lead.

The two-goal advantage sparked Macclesfield into life as they put the visitors under sustained pressure and they found a way through when Kane Drummond’s effort squeezed through Bobby Jones.

Neil Young’s side managed to hold on and weather the onslaught from the hosts in the final 12 minutes to secure his second promotion since taking charge at Marine.

As Joe Moss blew the full-time whistle, the players raced across the pitch to celebrate with the travelling 1,250 supporters. The bench streamed onto the field before fans invaded the pitch with Bobby Grant, who has been an inspired addition, was lifted into the air.

Next season, Marine will prepare for their first ever National League North campaign with reunions against Southport and Warrington Town set to be scheduled, plus trips to the likes of Scunthorpe United and Chester.

‘It was redemption’

Two months after missing a glorious chance on his debut from close range at Moss Rose, Jack Bainbridge stood firm to hand Marine a two-goal lead.

The former Southport midfielder has been one of the catalysts for the Mariners at the end of February.

Bainbridge played an important role in Marine’s win in Cheshire on Monday as he nullified Macclesfield dangerman John Rooney. But his goal, in front of the Marine fans, provided a sense of redemption.

He told Off The Park: “It’s redemption, I lost sleep over that chance. All the people here know, it was my first interaction with Marine, it hurt, my dad was in the crowd and everything. I’m made up to keep working hard and get it over the line.

“It’s unbelievable, we’ve worked hard for it. We made hard work of it but it doesn’t matter as long as you get over that line.

“It’s brilliant, it just shows that no matter what club you’re at, no matter what happens with managers, football is an opinion game, you’ve got to keep working hard, believe in yourself and hopefully gets you over the line. It has done today.

“The fans are brilliant, 1,200 here, it’s a family club. They’ve been brilliant since I come in January, I’m just buzzing to get it over the line. It’s massive for a club like Marine (to be in the National League North), they’ve got the fans, they’ve got the stadium to be a National League club and listen, we’re not stopping now. Let’s keep going.

“It’s not just about us, it’s about the gaffer as well, we weathered them on Tuesday and today. He gave us the tools to do it, we had to do it and every time we do what he says, we win so it’s not about us in the midfield but the gaffer as well.

“It’s the best (moment of my career), (there’s) nothing better than promotion.”

‘I’ll always be thankful to Marine’

Speaking to Off The Park, Marine attacker Sol Solomon said: “(I’m) Buzzing, it’s something we worked hard for all season but fair play to Macclesfield, they gave us a good game but glad to get over the line.

“It was a bit nervy but that’s football, you never know what’s going to happen but we’re the winners and I’m sure they’ll come back next year. We’re going to enjoy it.

“What a season, cup and promotion you can’t ask for much more. What a group of players, I can’t sum it up. I owe a lot to this club for putting me on the pedestal to show what I can do, I’ll always be thankful to the club.”

‘One of the best playoff finals in history’

Marine captain Josh Wardle told Off The Park: “It’s unbelievable, I’m speechless honestly. We deserved it all year, an unbelievable group of lads. The FA Cup first round, Liverpool Senior Cup and promotion to the National League, what more can you ask for?

“It wouldn’t have been as nervy if Bobby Jones didn’t throw one in would it? They’re a great side, they move the ball really well but we limited them, done what we have done all season, until the last 10 minutes of this playoff final as was expected.

“It’s a lot to do with the gaffer, James Leary, the chairman, they all do the hard work behind the scenes – it’s just up to us to play on the pitch and do our jobs. What a win, what a performance from the lads. Top, 100 per cent (biggest achievement in career).

“We’re better than what we were last year, we’ve learnt – we were naive and weak at times and this year we’ve got a bit of nous, 1,250 fans helps doesn’t it? We were a bit more solid than last year, 24 clean sheets, we’re just defensively unbelievable.

“I don’t think you can recreate that feeling (of full-time and scoring) I think it’s better than being with my missus.

“You can’t recreate that, it’s brilliant, in front of travelling fans as well but fair play to Macclesfield, what an event, they’ve put on a show and will probably go down as one of the best finals in NPL history with over 5,000 fans here today. It was a great atmosphere to play in and what a result in the end.”

[Featured Image: Darren Murphy – NPL]

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