Marine manager Neil Young says his side isn’t far away despite highlighting improvements following their 0-0 draw with Stalybridge Celtic.
Raul Correia missed a stoppage-time penalty but the point meant that the Mariners went seven games without a defeat in all competitions.
Speaking to Off The Park, Young said: “It’s a point away from home, we had enough chances to win the game, they had a very little. Wasn’t a great spectacle, I think I know why, it’s been a little bit like that for a couple of games including a short spell at Whitby which we’re trying to put right from a tactical and team perspective.
“We’ve hit the bar twice, ‘keepers made two or three outstanding saves then the headline will obviously be they missed a penalty in the 94th minute.
“It’s away from home, you want three points and it’s proven against last night that Saturday, Tuesday every week you see some strange results and there was some. I’m just happy we managed to get something and kept the run going.
“I think we need to play more, we go direct too early, not something I haven’t said to the players. I thought it happened at Nantwich, against Whitby and again last night, we’ve got a lot of technical players, we don’t have a big nine, we need to look to get on the ball a lot more.
“Look, there are times when you have to go long and second but it’s about getting the balance right and I think we’re going long too much. We need to look to pass a little bit more, I’m not saying we’re going to be one of them teams that drop down into boxes and all that palaver when wing-backs go high and wide – that isn’t going to be us.
‘But if we can get on the ball or out from the goalkeeper and we can pass it into midfield then we will do… mix our game up.”
Despite the draw, the Mariners had their opportunities and saw the woodwork rattled twice, including once from debutant Freddie Price.
But stylistically, Young still feels there are important changes that need to made. He said: “We dug in again, kept another clean sheet, I can’t fault them. I just think we went long too much and when you go long a lot, you’re hoping it’ll drop and you get a little bit of quality from the top end of the pitch, I think it becomes more of a 50/50 game.
“When you’ve got players with ability, you need to play it more which will then give you more opportunities, our opportunities came from a good ball and a good run and a great strike from Sol – the goalkeepers made a great save.
“All our other opportunities came from set-pieces, we hit the bar twice, flashed a couple across goal, one on top of the crossbar. We need to do more in general play, create more opportunities in general play and to do that you need to pass it more.
“Again, I go back to it, your [Sol] Solomon’s, [Freddie] Price’s, [Jack] Dunn’s, those types of people, they’re not going to win balls that are smashed upfield a lot.
“We’re talking about technical players, we need to pass more, we don’t need the ball in the air as much for centre-halves to come and smash headers. We just need to mix our game up a little bit more, we’re not far away, we’re not conceding which is the main thing. We’ve just got to be a bit more creative.”
Crewe Alexandra loanee Connor Evans made his fourth appearance for Marine during Tuesday’s draw, he has yet to find the back of the net during his short-term loan but he has impressed with his workrate.
Price’s addition marked another arrival in the attacking department at the Marine Travel Arena. Young revealed that they have yet to discuss a possible extension of his one-month loan at Marine, but did hint that there will be some movement in the coming weeks.
He continued: “We’re not there yet, a lot of games in a short space of time. I think Connor’s [Evans] loan spell is up after the Morpeth game on November 5, so we will look at that towards the end of next week before we start looking at where we’re at.
“What we do need to do is to make sure is there are some lads who will go out, either on loan or a permanent, to bring the squad numbers down and balance the books so that’ll be happening after the Gainsborough game. For now, it’s about getting the games out the way then I think the games relent.”
This weekend, Marine host Belper Town, a side who are at the foot of the Northern Premier League table but the Marine boss isn’t taking them lightly.
He added: “We’ve played Nantwich, Whitby and we’ve played Stalybridge now who are all, as people say, towards the bottom end of the table but there’s no easy games. Whitby went to Morpeth, the in-form team in whole league and won 1-0.
“There’s no easy, we’ve got to worry about ourselves, I’m more worried about getting us, if we can get ourselves right, we’ll be a match for anyone. You only have to look at the league table, I think there’s only five points between 16 teams or something ridiculous.
“We’ve got to concentrate on us, it doesn’t matter who we play, teams have strengths and weaknesses. Belper have got a new manager, probably been in for a month or five weeks, they’ll be changing.
“We’ve got to concentrate on what we’re good at, if we play the way we should play and keep evolving I think we’ll be a match for anyone, our biggest task at the moment is getting the best out of what we’ve got.”