Marine manager Neil Young was left frustrated as their unbeaten run came to an end against Clitheroe.
A goal in each half from Max Cane was enough to dent the Mariners hopes of moving level on points with league leaders Warrington Rylands as Workington required a stoppage-time winner to leapfrog Marine.
The hosts were resigned to hopeful efforts from outside the box with central defender Ollie Muir going closest in both halves.
Speaking after the defeat, he told Off The Park: “Poor night, I thought they were much better than us in every department. Sefton Gonzales was excellent for them, gave them a base to work from.
“We were poor, for the first time it looks like we give up within the game in certain situations and got to give them credit they were better than us on the day, we gave two sloppy goals away, they were the better team.
“It’s not good enough [giving up] I’ve just said in there, the table doesn’t lie. If you look at the top eight or nine teams, we’ve only won two.
“That’s a scary stat if you look at it in that way. We are where we are, we need to find a way. Midfield we were light, in the middle of midfield, Luke Clark, Alex Doyle out, David Lynch not fit they’re three big players at this level of football in that area for us, bit small in there because Clitheroe are physical, we had to play [Jack Dunn] Dunny and [James Barrigan] Baz in there.
“We were a little bit light but I knew that before the game. It’s not good, we’ve got pick ourselves up because we’ve got another game, another similar game to tonight against Mossley on Saturday.
“It was [a mixture of] Mossley, Bootle [and] Rylanda, a team back-to-front second balled. Generally, Muir and Howarth done fairly well but they weren’t getting much support and eventually that doors going to fall down if someone keeps knocking as much as they were.
“The ball was coming straight back, didn’t get hold of it up upfront and get a rest and they were better back to front, Wilkins and Dent just gambled bit like what Bootle and Mossley did here, we didn’t handle it and we’ve got to find a way.”
During the defeat, captain James Barrigan was given his marching orders in the dying embers after a late tackle just inside the Mariners half which compiled a dismal night.
Match Report: Marine 0-2 Clitheroe: Clinical Cane sinks Mariners
On a whole for the hosts, the traits of their recent defeats continued, accompanied by a faltering pitch – albeit improved from recent weeks – for Young’s side it was an off day and an eye-opening one, one he hopes will ignite the fire and spark a reaction.
He added: “They’ve got to pick themselves up, performance wasn’t good enough. Look at it however we want, say whatever we want but the performance wasn’t good enough.
“Might be the kick up the backside some of the people need and bring them down to earth a little bit because they were beaten by a better, hungrier side this evening.
“I think the problem we have got is that we’re a bit in between in terms of the way we play and that probably sits with me. Do we go back-to-front and second ball? Do we try and play? We’ve always tried to play, we’ve certainly found in the last few weeks, particularly here and Glossop on Saturday, it’s not always conducive to do that.
“But we can’t blame the pitch, the people who look after the pitch have made a difference to that and we thank them for that. But tonight was about individual performances and they wanted to win the game more than we did.”
One of the positive conclusions from the game is another glittering performance from Bayleigh Passant. The shot-stopper endured time out of the squad during their dismal run, yet the defeat to Clitheroe saw an end his impressive clean-sheet run of form games.
On Tuesday, his heroics were no defeat springing into action a number of times, keeping the scoreline down to just two.
“Since Bayleigh’s come back, he’s done really well. As you say, he’s made some important saves, the two goals were terrible, good from their perspective,” he added, speaking on Passant’s showing. “Gonzales… But you can’t let someone bring the ball down, I think for the second goal, he won his own flick on went past three and set it, that can’t happen.
“The disappointing thing for me was at 1-0, we weren’t great – far from it – but we were 1-0 at home and had nothing in the tank. Went 2-0, still had 15 or 16 minutes, I was saying to Gary Jones. Again, we didn’t put them under real pressure, that was the worst thing about it we didn’t build anything, any pressure, we had a spell for about, I might be exaggerating when I say 10 minutes but it felt like 10 minutes, where we passed it and got in behind.
“We created a couple of chances, corners, Ollie [Muir] has had two, he’s headed over the bar and he’s had one second half where he’s volleyed it over the bar but on chances, they probably had treble we had.
“I hate cliché’s but said in there [dressing room] the old cliché got to win your battles first and we talked before the game about the first 15 minutes and getting on top, we knew they’d come out the gate.
“Thought when they scored it was back to front a little bit, they was getting down the sides, first goal was always going to be important. Second half, probably the last 35 minutes we were dead on our feet and had nothing left.”