Marine earned another feather for their cap after ending Radcliffe Borough’s 100% record in an enthralling 3-2 win.
The cheers at full-time told the story for Marine, in what was a blood and thunder clash between two promotion hopefuls.
Aspirations for the Mariners are high as they lurk in the upper reaches of the table plus further involvement in the FA Cup and the FA Trophy against Hyde United and Marske United, respectively scheduled.
“Anyone who finishes above them at the end of the season will have done well,” manager Neil Young said at full-time. As it stands, no one has bettered Borough’s start to the season but Marine’s win cut the gap to five, moving up to third in the process.
Fin Sinclair-Smith continued to prove a shrewd piece of business, bringing him back to Crosby from Bamber Bridge.
The scoring was opened after just three minutes when his free-kick deflected off the wall and finding the back of the net, despite Mateusz Hewelt’s best efforts.
There was no disputing the second goal as Sol Solomon, a firm fan favourite at Rossett Park, thundered low into the bottom corner after Joe Ferguson powered through.
Radcliffe soon kicked into gear and looked for an avenue back into the game. The Greater Manchester side found joy down the left side through Scott Duxbury and Jude Oyibo with Nicky Adams unleashing a threatening strike which deflected wide.
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Sinclair-Smith was close to a third as he raced to the byline but could only fire across the face of goal. Hewelt then superbly denied Solomon’s bobbling left, saving low to his left.
The hope of going in at the break for Young’s side with their clean sheet intact diminished on the stroke of half-time when Jamie Morgan reacted fastest from Josh Hancock’s free-kick. Felix Goddard had made a brilliant reaction save in pushing the deflected effort onto the post but he couldn’t deny the rebound.
Marine were seemingly home and dry with the three points secured when Sinclair-Smith added his second. It was a moment to forget for the Radcliffe goalkeeper, Hewelt, as the attacker’s strike squirmed into the back of the net.
Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson’s side were not giving up their perfect record without a fight. They pushed and probed before Hancock raced through the defence to slot past Goddard for a nervy-ending at Rossett Park.
Although it was too little, too late for Radcliffe as Marine moved into third. They still remain five points off the leaders and one point behind second-placed Warrington Rylands, who are on an equally impressive run as the Mariners.
In the context of the league table, it is too soon to say how important Marine’s win could be. For a team that was stripped to its foundations in the summer, it’s another confidence-boosting win in intense circumstances.
Marine return to Ewen Fields on Saturday in the FA Cup, a month after their last defeat came at the hands of their upcoming third-round qualifying opponent, Hyde.
That seven-day period at the end of August could’ve proved detrimental to their early hopes but Marine have enjoyed a resurgence in the challenges in a hectic September.
Football can change quickly but the Mariners are enjoying the other side of the coin for now and with the mood identical to one that was surrounding Rossett Park a month ago, there is no doubt that the Mariners will have revenge on their mind on Saturday.