Marine push on as belief grows ahead of FA Trophy clash against Bradford Park Avenue

Marine in action against Widnes

Marine manager Neil Young was pleased with his side’s “working-like” performance in order to steer past Widnes.

The Mariners run goes on as they continue to set the pace for the trailing pack but had a hard task of keeping Dave Dempsey’s quiet.

They raced into a three-goal lead with the hosts having a man sent-off but Widnes clawed their way back and a penalty late on made for a nervy finish.

Diminished and on the short side as a result of injuries, Young was pleased that they could come through with the points in the bag and unscathed.

“It was just a working-like performance, we had a job to do it was difficult because we had no full-backs or recognised full-backs available and we had a couple of lads carrying knocks but Jay Devine and Ben Hughes done a good job,” he told Off The Park.

“Generally, we were 3-0 up and cruising, give a sloppy goal away, lost our shape a little bit then the referee gives them a penalty I don’t know how he’s give them a penalty but he’s give them a penalty.

“It made the last four or five minutes interesting but we should’ve killed the game off late on, Kengni had a great opportunity but hit the post. When you’ve got as many injuries in the areas we had them, just to pick three points up at this stage of the season is the absolute key. 

“I was disappointed to concede the two goals because before that we’d only conceded nine goals all season but you’ve also got to be realistic.

“If you look in the end, we’ve got a lad out of the [under]23s, Jay Devine limping round, had to take Lynch off, although we had 11 on the pitch we’ve also got a lot of injuries on the pitch as well. It’s just about getting the job done, you don’t get any more points for winning 3-2 or 5-0 the pleasing thing is we managed to get 3-0 up away from home down to the bare bones.

“We’ve been able to get by [in the past] because we’ve had players in different positions but this [Saturday] was the first time that we didn’t have enough players who regularly play in those positions, for lads to go in there to go in a job that’s the most important thing.”

After a trail of his players succumb to the treatment table, the comeback is starting to become clearer but whilst his side remain hamstrung in the physio room, welcoming three back will be enough for Young.

He added: “Well the hamstring boys [Doyle, Shaw, Winnard] are a bit longer-term but I’m hoping to have Josh Solomon-Davies back, Kyle Hayde, James Barrigan will return from suspension so gives us a bit more depth. Doyle, Shaw, Winnard you’re probably looking a bit longer [out]. Overall, if I can get three back that will be good.”

Saturday sees the Mariners in FA Trophy against National League North opposition. It won’t be the first time this season they play a team in a higher division than them after skirmishes with Warrington Town, Atherton Colleries, Wrexham and now Bradford Park Avenue.

Although it’s an opportunity that his players are up for.

“A tough game, I laugh to myself a little bit that we’re going into a game against a team two leagues higher, away from home, the expectation is that we’ll win the game.

“Under no illusions how difficult the game will be, played Bradford plenty of times as Chester manager – a difficult place to go – it’s another game, another cup tie,  another chance to put ourselves on the map. Think since I’ve been here we’ve knocked 10 or 11 teams out of competitions from higher leagues we’re under no illusions the size of the task.

“The key for Bradford, the difference between us they’ve got experience, non-league lads we’re a bit younger, we’ve got the belief we’ve got to take that belief into the game and try get to the next round but we’re playing a team two leagues who’ll be exactly the same.” 

[Featured image: 617 Photography]

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