Waters makes a splash as Marine send playoff message with Worksop Town win

Marine celebrate vs Scarborough

Right-back Matty Waters scored a last-minute wondergoal to complete a late comeback for Marine in a 2-1 win over 10-man Worksop Town.

Finlay Sinclair-Smith provided a glimmer of hope with six minutes of normal time remaining as he zipped in to slot through the legs of Sebastian Malkowski. Deep into eight minutes of additional time, the former Buxton defender sent the Marine Travel Arena into pandemonium as his long-range effort cannoned in off the underside of the bar.

Worksop defender Regan Hutchinson opened the scoring after 12 minutes as he curled beyond Luke Hutchinson, taking the sting out of the hosts’ positive start. 

It was third versus fifth in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and for Marine, it was a much-needed win to stamp their authority in the playoff race. A win or draw for the Tigers would’ve put them in the driving seat and held an advantage over the Mariners.

For 72 minutes, after Hutchinson’s opener, they were above Marine in the table but with what was at stake, the game lacked any real spectacle due to the stop-start nature of proceedings.

Marine had on-loan goalkeeper Luke Hutchinson to thank for keeping Worksop at bay, the 21-year-old made several outstanding stops including one from Terry Hawkbridge, who looked certain to double the Tigers’ lead only for the Bolton Wanderers’ shot-stopper to claw away the danger with an outstretched left hand. 

With Hutchinson’s heroics between the sticks and the expectant fans fired up, following pre-match rallying cry from manager Neil Young fresh in their minds, they were always within a shout. Their performance, albeit on a frustrating afternoon, warranted a goal and through Sinclair-Smith they just that.

He netted his 16th of the season, to move level with Sol Solomon at the top of the goalscorers charts, before with one of the last kicks of the game Waters scored his second for the club – adding another contender for goal of the season.

The match wasn’t shy of talking points as the referee brandished three red cards for the visitors. Firstly for the Worksop physio before goalscorer Hutchinson was shown a straight red for a late lunge on Josh Wardle and after the full-time whistle, a third was shown to a member of the Tigers bench – believed to be manager Craig Parry.

A different Marine

Both sides endured head-scratching officiating decisions which added to the frustration for Marine. After going in front, Worksop Town looked to add to anger of the home side.

It was evident that it was taking its toll on Marine players which was a cause for their slow start to the second-half. But the Mariners showed their vigour and made it four straight wins in the league.

A moment of brilliance from Waters was something out of the blue but nothing that the hosts deserved after being thwarted by the Poland international plus Chris Doyle and Bobby Grant going close.

“We’ve won the game so I’m elated, I’ve been on the other side of that so I know it’s not nice either,” Young told Off The Park: “I’m made up with the way we battled in the game, I thought we were the better side and don’t me wrong, Luke (Hutchinson) has made some great saves but I think we created enough.

“The willingness to keep going, it’s a different Marine from the one you might’ve seen five or six games ago. Bobby (Grant) has made a difference, they had two big centre-halves – good players who have been around.

“The pleasing thing for me is that we’ve lost two experienced midfielders in recent weeks in Jordan (Lussey) and Liam (Nolan), we had a young midfield today, Louis (White) playing in a different role and the two 20-year-olds who never stopped all game in Harvey (Gregson) and Owen (Robinson). 

“We just kept going, when you come up against a good, experienced, physical side and when you do, you have to find a way and tonight, we did.”

Rallying call: Answered

The Marine boss called for respectable hostility before the playoff six-pointer against Worksop Town. 

The reaction at Rossett Park when Waters’ effort hit the roof of the net was one that will live long in the 1,300 fans in attendance. For most, it was a tough clash to watch due to the baffling decisions made.

But it was a reaction that the Marine boss was exactly looking for. He said: “I thought it was fantastic, when you say something like that and get a last-minute winner, the place goes up. For everyone including Worksop, the game was so stop-start that it was hard to get engaged in the game because at times you didn’t know which way the decision was going to go.

“Great credit to everyone who came and got behind the team, anyone who came today will come away thinking: ‘what have I just seen?’

“I know it’s Crosby but anyone going to play a Liverpool team, it didn’t matter where you were from it was always horrible,” Young added. “We’ve got to be that way, do it respectfully, but we’ve got to make this place a fortress and loud, you’ve got to get to a position where people think it’s a bit ferocious. 

“We had a team come here not so long ago and the assistant manager commented that he had never heard it so quiet. 

“Don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to play good football to create an atmosphere but it works both ways to, we have a young team and sometimes they need the support to get confidence and get back going.”

The match winner(s)

It wasn’t long after goalkeeper Hutchinson had been confirmed as sponsors player of the match that Waters wheeled away in jubilation. 

To get to the point of smashing an effort home to secure the points, the Bolton Wanderers shot-stopper was on-hand to frustrate the visitors. As Felix Goddard did for Marine in their 1-0 win in November’s reverse fixture. 

The loan department at the Toughsheet Community Stadium will be delighted to see 21-year-old Hutchinson come of age. Equally, Waters’ involvement in the win – adding his second goal for the club – shows the quality that has been introduced at the club in the 26-year-old and Freddie Sass, as well as Bobby Grant.

“He’s got that in his make up, he is left-footed and we’re playing him on right-back,” Young said on Waters. “When he gets it on that left peg, as we seen against Stafford Rangers, he can hit a ball and he’s a confident boy.

“It’s funny because that’s twice Matty has scored for us now. First one, I was stood next to Gary Jones against Stafford, when he picked it up wide on the right and brought it in, I said: ‘he scores here’. 

“Today, he positioned himself at the edge of the box and, it was when Bobby had the volley – which was a great effort – I said: ‘if it comes out to Matty’ then next minute, it comes to him and from where I was, it hit the bar and came back out, I couldn’t see it until the net then pandemonium. That’s why we’re in the game.

“Luke (Hutchinson) made some great saves,” he added. “He’s a quiet boy but he’s a quietly confident boy. I didn’t see his save at 1-0 but it looked an unbelievable save from where I was, I’ll have to see it back. I thought it was in, I couldn’t see Luke and somehow it’s gone behind for a corner, an unbelievable save.”

Northern Premier League playoff race heats up

Manasse Mampala left to join playoff rivals Hyde United on loan, the departure raised questions among Marine fans at not only timing but the decision to let an attacking asset leave for a team level on points with them in the table.

Young made no substitutions during Saturday’s feisty encounter with Worksop, but conceded that with knocks from the win, one or two could be offered an opportunity against FC United on Tuesday.

With criticism never far away, the experienced manager is more than aware of the target on his back but has reiterated bringing in players isn’t that easy.

He said: “We’ve got a good squad of players but only 16 today, I’m not suddenly going to sign loads of players to backfill because they’ve got play a part and they’ve got a position to fill, we’ve lost two midfielders in two weeks, I need to find a different type of forward that helps that midfield three because we don’t have that experience, we have a lot of running around we just need a little bit more. 

“We have enough times where people are getting after you, when we played Hyde, the world had caved in and I didn’t know what I was doing but that’s football. I always say don’t get too high when you’re flying high, likewise don’t be too down but you’ve got to have some sort of plan.

“You don’t get to implement it right away, even after three to five weeks because it’s physically not possible, I can’t just take other people’s players. I’ve got a club to manage, not just what people see on the pitch but off the pitch, there’s a lot factors. It’s not as simple as swapping players in and out, there’s a bigger picture.”

[Featured Image: Susan Nugent]

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