Marine manager Neil Young weighs up Runcorn Linnets Northern Premier League playoff final importance

Marine goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant celebrates with hat-trick hero Neil Kengni

Marine boss Neil Young has described the importance of their Northern Premier League West playoff against Runcorn Linnets.

Neil Kengni’s superb hat-trick against Workington booked the Mariners’ place in the showpiece clash against Calum McIntrye’s side.

Workington, whose draw on the final day of the season handed Warrington Rylands the title and automatic promotion, took the lead twice only for Marine’s top goalscorer to equalise twice, the second in the seventh minute of second half stoppage time before securing his hat-trick and winning the semi-final in extra-time.

Neil Young told Off The Park: “I think you have your highs and your lows in football, I’ve been on the other side and from our side, it’s an unbelievable feeling to score with virtually the last kick of the game in normal time. But I thought we were the better team, we made two mistakes for the goals but overall, we were the better team on the night, I don’t think apart from the goals Bayleigh has had anything to do or a lot to do – I know their goalkeeper hasn’t been worked as much but we’ve had great opportunities in the final third to score.

“Great feeling, to have as many fans as we did there on a Tuesday night was a special moment and why you’re in the game really. 

“I said in my post-match (interview) on Saturday, results have been indifferent, certainly because we haven’t had the players available to us and if we could get the players available particularly in the defensive positions, I’m not saying the lads who have played there have done bad, it’s just a size thing in terms of first contact on balls.

“I said there’s definitely a result in us, we’ve got togetherness in us, we’ve proved that the week before when we played Workington and coming back twice from behind away from home at Workington, you’ve got to have something about you and this team has got something about them. 

“Neil’s got his three goals which he’s deserved. To be fair to the lad, he’s had to play in a number of positions for me mainly because we haven’t had defenders, particularly on that left-hand side. But his performance on Tuesday was very good.

“Overall, we had a pretty frank meeting on Monday, prepared, done things a little bit differently, planned a little bit differently. We give the lads as much information and the little bits and bobs that we know we worked on Monday, the lads done perfectly, brilliantly in terms of the tactical analysis.

“We can have all the tactics in the world, we need to have that togetherness to produce and keep going and produce a result like that and they did. 

“It’s a massive game isn’t it, it’s a final, it’s a final for promotion which is what we all set out to do on August 7th or whenever we kicked off. In the context of the league, it’s a massive game, it’s the next game, it’s the last game of the season, irrespective of what happens. It’s against a tough opponent who’ve done exceptionally well and we’ve got to go there, prepared and try win the game. 

“An unbelievable result at Leek but you look at their form, Clitheroe had been putting a lot of pressure on them, at that time, as the last playoff contender and they’re a fairly young side and they never stopped, kept winning games, churning out results.

“They’ve got a lot about them, Calum (McIntyre), who I know well, he was my Youth Team manager when I was at Chester so I know him well, works very well at his job, he’s got Colin (Woodthorpe) with him – very experienced, worked with Dave Chall (Challoner) at Fylde. T

“hey’ve got a good group, know how hard they work from a managerial position in terms of their tactics, they’ll be preparing well for us, they’ve had a fantastic season and we’ve got a very tough game on our hands. 

“It’s the next one there’s a need to put Tuesday’s performance into Saturday, a follow-up performance. We’ve been good in cup games throughout my tenure so far, we’ve got players back although not match fit, they’re available – which I’ve said all along, get our team fit and I’ll put us against anyone. Now it’s about who performs on the day and that’s what we’ve got to do. 

“The fans have been tremendous all season, our gates are through the roof compared to what it was when I came to the club. You seen what Tuesday meant to them, I don’t so social media but I’ve been told there’s a massive scramble for tickets, not sure how that works yet I’m hoping for more information today (Thursday) but the crowd can play a massive part, we’ve got 400 – I’m sure there will be more than 400 there from a Marine perspective, I know what they want, they want the same as us and I’m sure they’ll get right behind the team.”

[Featured image: Ben Challis Sport Photography]

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