Marine manager Neil Young believes they now have faint hopes of reaching the playoffs after suffering a late defeat to promotion rivals Warrington Town.
The Yellows got off to a lightning start in the second-half as Jordan Buckley powered home past Bayleigh Passant just a minute after the restart.
Accrington Stanley loanee Joe Hardy finished expertly after sliding beneath Tony Thompson but it was Mark Beesley’s side who took the three points back to Cantilever Park thanks to Isaac Buckley-Ricketts’ strike in the last-minute.
Marine returned to winning ways, following their defeat to Matlock Town, on Saturday with a 1-0 win away at Marske United. However, the defeat leaves them four points off the playoff positions as Radcliffe hold the advantage going into their final three games of the season.
Young was gracious in defeat as he admitted that Mark Beesley’s side were deserved winners as the hosts failed to click into gear.
“Disappointed in the defeat, the way it happened but I don’t think we done enough in the game considering what was on it,” he told Off The Park. “I thought they controlled the game for large parts without creating a great but Jordan [Buckley] could’ve had a hat-trick with the chances just after half-time.
“You’ve got to be honest in your assessment of the game, I thought we done well after we scored, a couple of good opportunities but didn’t do enough in and out of possession. We wish Warrington all the best, they’ve had an unbelievable run, 22 unbeaten, at this level it’s an unbelievable achievement.
“I don’t think we done enough in the game, we looked short in areas,” he added. “I’ve always said to the lads, as long as they have a go, we can’t knock them but today, I thought we looked leggy, opportunities to make things happen, we didn’t.
“Was it nerves? Was it tiredness? Was it a long season? We can look for all the excuses but on the day, we wasn’t good enough and we were beaten by the better side, I thought, but we probably deserved a point in the end.”
With their playoff hopes hanging on by a thread as their attention turns to The Boro’s rescheduled clash against Warrington Rylands tomorrow (Tuesday, April 11), the Marine boss insists that the season won’t peter out as their preparations for the final two Northern Premier League games continue plus the Liverpool Senior Cup final against Runcorn Linnets to come.
With not only silverware on the line and a slim possibility of extending their league campaign beyond April 22, Young says that he wants to see how much the remainder of the season means to the players with some playing for their involvement next year.
He added: “I don’t think it’ll peter out because we’ve got a cup final to look forward to. I’m not saying what the league campaign will look like for the final two games, we’ve got a duty to the other teams, Hyde are trying to get in the playoffs as are Matlock so we’ve got two important games ourselves.
“As a group, we’ll do everything we can to win those last two games, that’s all we can do, that’s what we’re here for.
“I don’t need to look at players, give anyone their last hurrah, we’re not here to do that, we’re here to win football matches, to improve. I want to see individually how much it means to them now and who is going to be here next year, I’ve now got to be looking at what comes next.”
With the defeat leaving them four points away from the top-five, the Mariners manager admitted that he thinks the race is done. Although, there is a tinge of added disappointment as he feels they should have had their spot secured only for the results in their recent run.
“I think it’s done, I think the teams above us, Radcliffe have a game in hand on us, we’d have to win all our games and they have to be win one out of three so it’s an outside chance,” he continued. “It is what it is, I think it’s done personally if we’re realistic.
“If I go back through the games that we’ve lost in the last six to eight games, we should be in the playoffs – are we good enough is another question – but in the games we’ve played and lost, apart from Nantwich Town, we should be in the playoffs but that’s ifs, buts, should of’s and that’s why you’re not in them.
“That’s got to be turned round into yes’ and definites and you can only do that with improvements.”