Marine manager Neil Young was pleased to see his side make it two wins from two against Ramsbottom United and Runcorn Linnets but was glad to just get over the line in the midweek win over Calum McIntyre’s side.
Mark Howarth and two goals from George Newell saw them return to winning ways after suffering their first defeat since September.
The win saw them go two points clear as Warrington Rylands also took advantage of Workington’s postponement to get points on the board in the title race.
“It was a good performance, all games in this league are very tough but when you get the amount of injuries – it’s not so much the injuries – it’s having to change the formation all the time, can’t get any consistency,” Young told Off The Park.
“We lost David Raven early doors with a hamstring problem, which meant we had to change our shape again so it caused a few problems. But overall, we took our goals well, we were creative, if we took a bit more care in situations we might’ve got a couple of more but got to give them great credit because they kept going.”
Tuesday saw the play-off chasers visit Rossett Park and push the league leaders in one of their toughest home tests of the season.
A handful of chances were squandered by Linnets’ as they were left scratching their heads wondering how Marine had held on to go in goalless at the break.
But the former Chester boss admitted that the visitors proved too much for them.
He added: “t was a proverbial game of two halves, very disappointed with the first half but I always think people talk about how poor your team are, I think you’ve got to give great credit to the opposition.
“They came with a game plan, play a certain way, their work ethic first half was incredible both in possession and out of possession.
“We struggled to match their intensity, if I’m honest, I spent the last three or four minutes of the first half really not involved in the game just making sure when I was going in at half time I’d make decisions on what we were going to do for the second half.
“We needed to make a change Owen [Watkinson] came off, it could’ve been anyone really, wasn’t because Owen was worse than anyone else just took that decision a change of shape was needed, change of intensity and a few harsh words.
“We changed the shape which is key, we went to five [at the back] because what was happening first-half from a tactical perspective, they were turning us round and once they clipped the ball in behind us, they were breaking very quickly from midfield and picking up all the second balls.
“But in the second half what [the change] allowed us to do with three at the back when they were running to our back four, they were running to a back five or a back three so we had more cover in those areas.
“I thought that they were very narrow pulling the wingbacks in meant that we could get at them in wide areas because we were letting them first half crowd areas in the centre of the pitch and we kept kicking into the centre of the pitch so that width, Luke Higham was wide a bit, Josh Solomon-Davies and once you get that width someone’s got to meet them wide players so that creates more space.
“I think generally we upped the intensity of us, substitutions made the difference, James Barrigan in particular, so I think all in all that’s what happened really.”
Barrigan grabbed the first as his searching free-kick evaded all the attackers beating Dermot Mee all ends up with Newell and Niall Cummings grabbing the goals in what was a seven-minute flurry.
Ryan Brookes picked up a consolation goal late on to deny the Mariners a clean sheet but how the game played out left Young relieved to just see the points fall in their favour.
“I think once we got the first goal, it give us a bit of confidence, we were able to be a bit more creative – without being too creative – even with their chances if you look at them, most of them were from set-pieces, the pitch wasn’t conducive to any free-flowing football.
“That’s been us at the top end of the pitch, we are quite efficient when it comes to taking our opportunities.
“I’ll be honest, after the first half, winning the game was enough for me,” he continued. “You probably get greedy and ‘oh yeah a clean sheet’ but if we’re honest we could’ve been chasing the game, we were lucky we wasn’t chasing the game so last night was just about getting over the line and winning the game, not too bothered about the clean sheet.
“I think first-half count ourselves lucky in the fact that we could’ve been two maybe three goals down, on the plus side we changed shape, instruction and they’ve still got to go out after such a poor first half, put it right and that’s what they did.
“Very poor first half, but you’ve got to give great credit to the opposition, it’s not all about the team – they surprised us a bit. But second half, change of shape, personnel, good attitude and we went and won the game.”
Newcastle Town poses a third straight home game for Marine as they look to add to their five-point gap at the top of the Northern Premier League West.
The Marine manager isn’t overlooking them either, he said: “They’re all tough. They’ve improved massively since we played them in the first game of the season, they’ve got a few good players I like [Nathan] Morley, plays wide left, they’ll cause us problems if we’re not set right.
“We’ve got more injuries so we’ll look at them in training, again just another game. I’ve said to myself if we can take 10 points out of the four games coming; Ramsbottom, Runcorn, Newcastle and Bootle, that’ll be a good return with the games coming thick and fast.
“We’ve took six at the minute, we now worry about the next one and we’ll see what that brings on Saturday.”