What Neil Young and Dean Furman have said as Marine host Warrington Rylands in Northern Premier League playoff semi-final

Marine vs Warrington Rylands

Marine and Warrington Rylands will lock horns in the Northern Premier League playoff semi-final on Tuesday as they look to move to within at least 90 minutes of the National League North.

The gruelling campaign is coming to an end but both clubs will be looking to end the season on a high.

Neil Young’s side have had another record-breaking year after reaching the FA Cup first round proper, as well as extensive run in the FA Trophy and winning successive Liverpool Senior Cup crowns.

The Mariners have been on a journey of gradual progress. Last season, they narrowly missed out on the top five, being made to rue periods of bad form but this time around, they have weathered their blips and responded with a series of phenomenal unbeaten spells.

Marine earned home advantage after Rylands suffered back-to-back defeats at the latter stages of the regular league campaign and will welcome the Blues to the Marine Travel Arena.

Rylands have had a turbulent season off the pitch with Michael Clegg leaving for Macclesfield and Sam Egerton’s dismissal.

But they have been at the forefront of the playoff race for the majority of the season. It looked bleak after their 4-0 opening day defeat at home to Radcliffe but despite that, there was positive signs and for the most-part have sat second in the table.

The Blues, who are now under the stewardship of experienced players Dean Furman and Mark Duffy, didn’t envisage having such a successful season in the Northern Premier League. As a result, the pressure is off and they are enjoying the ride – but there will be an extra sense of vigour going into the encounter after being written off throughout.

Marine go into the encounter having won seven of their last eight, the only defeat during that period came against Tuesday’s opponents. Rylands ran out 2-0 winners over Marine at the beginning of April as former players Mo Touray and Djavan Pedro were on the scoresheet.

It was a dogged display from Rylands and a disappointing outing from Young’s side as they pushed and probed but offered little threat, failing to break down the stubborn back four.

While Marine have home advantage, the Blues have one of the best away records in the division. Their only defeat away from Gorsey Lane, came against Worksop Town as the Tigers scored a last-minute winner.

Macclesfield and Worksop await the winners but another record crowd is expected at the Marine Travel Arena as both sides look to push closer to their National League dream.

Neil Young confident as Marine look to continue ‘incredible season’

Marine manager Neil Young says he is confident in his side going into the semi-final as they look to continue their ‘incredible’ season.

He told Off The Park: “They have a clear way in how they play, I don’t think it’s different in how they played when we were at home in the first game barring a couple of changes in personnel.

“That was our only defeat in our eight games, that was the task that I set the players before the Guiseley game, if we can win eight we will definitely be in the playoffs – we managed to win seven of them which is an incredible achievement.

“It doesn’t change my thoughts, it gives me a bit of a view from an analysis perspective,” he said, as he disregarded their defeat to Rylands at the beginning of April.

“It gives us a clearer view of what they did well on the day, how they play but Rylands have had a structured way of playing all season.

“They’ve got the best defensive record in the league, we’ve got a tough task on but at the semi-final stage, you’re never going to get an easy game so you’ve got to go in there, be prepared and perform how we have been.”

Marine have won each of their last seven league matches, hitting Atherton Collieries for four in the penultimate game of the season before ending on a high in a 3-1 away win at Ashton United.

Young feels suitably prepared and says Rylands will be looking to throw them ‘off their perch’ but believes they pose a threat with their formidable away record.

He continued: “As much (prepared) as we can be, we’ve won 17 out of 21 games and in this league, anyone will tell you, a team with our resources it’s a phenomenal achievement. Lads have kept going, winning seven out of eight, most of them away, rightly so they’re given an opportunity to take it one game further hopefully.

“Rylands will be coming to try knock us off our perch, beat us in our backyard and all those cliches, but it’s definitely better for us being at home than an away fixture.

“What our lads have done this season is incredible, when we sit down at the end of the season, if you look back at what has been achieved and done what has been done they’ve had an incredible season – if it becomes more incredible, we will know in eight days.

“I’m confident that we will perform because they haven’t let me down so far. They’ve lost one game at Rylands, where we weren’t at our best, we went to Macclesfield and Radcliffe and probably should’ve got something out of the game. We didn’t win those games but the performances were very good but away there, you can lose games of football but we were in both games. The main thing at the moment is keep going.”

Dean Furman offers ‘underdogs’ verdict as Warrington Rylands mentality outlined

Dean Furman has warned against writing off Warrington Rylands as he admits the Blues are happy to be underdogs.

The 35-year-old told Off The Park: “I think it’s a phenomenal achievement (earning a place in the playoffS), Cleggy (Michael Clegg) brought in the majority of the squad and 90% of the squad were new, we didn’t know what we were in pre-season and then we were 4-0 down to Radcliffe at half-time in the first game you’re thinking, ‘wow this is going to be a long season’.

“But from then, we turned it around and went on a phenomenal run for a large part of the season. It’s been a massive effort for everyone, internally it’s been a massive effort to get this far so we can go into the playoffs and enjoy them.”

Furman added that they are underdogs going into the trip to Crosby but he thinks it’s a tag that they can thrive off.

He added: “It makes a teamtalk easy when you’re up against it but credit to the boys, they’ve consistently put in performances every week.

“Our away record has been phenomenal all season, the run we went on and some of the performances on the way was incredible, we don’t mind being the team that everyone writes off, they have done from start to finish and they probably will in the playoffs again.

“We’re probably the underdogs, it’s a great position for us to be in.”

Despite beating Marine over three weeks ago, the former South Africa international has insisted that it plays no part in their preparations. He says that the prospect of the semi-final is ‘exciting’ but hopes the quality within the two sides don’t ruin the game.

“Not even after our game but before they were in fantastic form, what’s good is that you have two teams full of confidence going into a great battle,” he said.

“It will be a fantastic atmosphere, they know us well, we know them well, for the neutral, I hope we don’t cancel each other out and it’s an exciting game. We went up with each other and battled each other along the way, I’m excited for it, it’ll be a top clash between two teams who have been outstanding.

“Their front three, we know how dangerous they are. Bobby Grant through the middle, played at a top level, and despite him not scoring, we can see how much of a threat he is and he’s got good players either side of him.

“They’re very good going forward, dangerous and they’ll have that home support behind them, credit to them for finishing third, we wanted it but fair play to them which they will try use to their advantage. But our away form is one we’re proud of and gives us confidence going into the game.”

Marine vs Warrington Rylands tickets

It is expected to be close to a sell-out at the Marine Travel Arena with Marine boasting an average attendance of 1,224. Their 4-0 win over Atherton Collieries welcomed 1,589 supporters, while their Liverpool Senior Cup win over City of Liverpool saw 1,900 in attendance. Tickets can be purchased here.

Kick-off: Tuesday, April 30, 7:45pm, Marine Travel Arena (Crosby) College Rd, Liverpool L23 3AS.

[Featured image: Warrington Rylands – Mark Percy]

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